>I’ve mentioned the collection of children’s literature given to us by Edith Wetmore in the 1950s, and here is another nugget from those books. It’s a first edition of the compilation of poems by Lewis Carroll, or rather Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898) entitled Rhyme? and Reason? (London: Macmillan & Co., 1883).
The two major poems reprinted in this work are Phantasmagoria, in seven cantos (first published in 1869) and The Hunting of the Snark, “an agony in eight fits” (first published in 1876).
In Phantasmagoria a ghost calls upon a middle-aged gentleman in his study, primarily to haunt, but ends up presenting a rationale for ghostly house selection and the manner in which these things are done in the spirit world. The Hunting of the Snark, involves the quest of a ship’s crew of nine, captained by an obsessed Bellman, who are in search of the creature called “the Snark.” Snark sightings are extremely rare, and they are dangerous as well as marvelous (some Snarks are Boojums, who have the ability to cause unlucky victims to vanish). Baker, who has wandered off on his own, at last sights a Snark. Too late, he shouts his warning and then vanishes, leaving us to wonder at the solemn news that “the Snark was a Boojum, you see.”
The very nice thing about our copy is that it was presented by the author to one of his older sisters, Frances Jane Dodgson (1828-1903). It then went to two other ladies I have not identified, but perhaps someone out there will know…