In this illustrated edition of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark, master wood engraver George A. Walker provides an uproarious reinterpretation of the classic poem poem as seen through the convex lens of contemporary American politics.
George A. Walker (Canadian, b. 1960) is an award-winning wood engraver, book artist, teacher, author, and illustrator who has been creating artwork and books and publishing at his private press since 1984. Walker's popular courses in book arts and printmaking at OCAD University in Toronto, where he is Associate Professor, have been running continuously since 1985. For over twenty years Walker has exhibited his wood engravings and limited edition books internationally, often in conjunction with The Loving Society of Letterpress (and The Binders of Infinite Love) and the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG). Among many book projects Walker has illustrated two hand-printed books written by internationally-acclaimed author Neil Gaiman. Walker is also the illustrator of the first Canadian editions of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass books (Cheshire Cat Press). George A. Walker was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art for his contribution to the cultural area of Book Arts.
There exists a certain kind of mind that is uncomfortable with ambiguity, nonsense, and the creative imagination. Such persons attempt to reduce the abstruse to some prosaic explication, which they then often insist is the only way to look at it, and surely was the original intent of the author, whose mind they know better than he or she did. This has frequently been the fate of the Snark and, for that matter, Carroll's two masterful Alice books, for those of limited intelligence (intellect, which such persons might possess in abundance, is another matter entirely) who 'read' the poem in their own idiosyncratic way. (Analogously, we in the States elected a man as our leader who sees things exactly as he wishes to see them and allows no such things as facts or truth to stand in his way.)
Contrariwise, as Tweedledee would say, more enlightened minds can rejoice in profound and perplexing-another term might be 'poetic'-works of art. Hermeneutics (the art of interpretation) can better be used to demonstrate how a text could be construed a certain way, thereby proving, with great humor and wisdom, just how infinite is its depth. Fortunately, we are in such hands with this present edition, which does not dictate but rather wittily utilizes illustrations to the poem to memorialize a moment in political time, the bewildering administration of Donald J. Trump and his cronies, by assigning caricatures of his staff to the expedition's crew.
As Ben Hecht put it in A Guide for the Bedevilled (1945), 'Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.' Already at this writing some of the persons caricatured in this edition have left the administration-Anthony Scaramucci, Reince Priebus, and Stephen K. Bannon-but that does not affect George Walker's superb caricatures, nor this edition serving as an aide-mémoire of a baffling yet historic time.
-Mark Burstein, President Emeritus of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America