In-8, XI--- p. [i.e.: I, half-title; IV, frontispiece; V, title-page; VI, printer ; VII, dedicatory text ; IX-XI, preface; XIII, table; 1 p. blank; 1-83, poem; 1 p. reviews of Lewis Carroll’s publications]; complete with all nine illustrations by Henry Holiday; with ‘Baker’ not ‘Butcher’ on p. 83.
Original cloth hard back boards, one of approximately 20 copies in the publisher’s deluxe binding of blue cloth, full gilt illustration on the front and back covers, all page edges gilt with coated black end papers as issued, intact tissue guards for illustrations. The “Burn & Co” bindery ticket is pasted (as called for) on the rear paste-down. Box, blue cloth. Dimensions: 120 x 182 mm.
First edition in its rare blue binding of which only 20 copies were planned for the author.
Presentation copy by the author to his sister Elizabeth Lucy Dodgson, with the following inscription on the half-title: « Elizabeth L. Dodgson, With best love, From her affte brother, The Author Mar. 29. 1876 ». This date is little time before the book was up for sale. The Hunting of the Snark is a typical Lewis Carroll nonsense poem. The poem retells the tale of ten sea crew hunting down a dangerous animal, the “Boojum”. It includes some nonsense words from his earlier poem “Jaberwocky” and from his novel “Through the Looking Glass”.
Biographer Morton Cohen connects the creation of The Hunting of the Snark with the illness of Carroll’s cousin and godson Charlie Wilcox. On 17 July 1874, Carroll travelled to Guildford, Surrey, to care for him for six weeks, while the young man struggled with tuberculosis. The next day, while taking a walk in the morning after only a few hours of sleep, Carroll thought of the poem’s final line: “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see”. [Morton N. Cohen, Lewis Carroll: A Biography (1995)].
Most of the copies publis