The number 42 seems to have had some special signifigance to Lewis Carroll
. It is reported that 42 was Carroll's Magic Number
, although to be honest i haven't the slightest clue what that means. At any rate the man seems to have had a thing going for the number
The book Alice in Wonderland has exactly 42 illustrations not counting the cover, and near the end references a Rule 42 in the judicial code of Wonderland: All persons more than a mile high are to leave the court.
It is in Carroll's undisputed nonsense masterwork The Hunting of the Snark, however, that these things begin to get interesting:
Lewis Carroll was 42 years of age at the time the Agony was written.
The baker, the effective hero of the epic (who, as it happens, is believed by many (including me) to have been intended as a stand-in or metaphor for Lewis Carroll himself), is strongly implied to be 42 years of age (see Snark Fit 3 The Baker's Tale, stanza 5).
- Also, the Baker attempts to take with him on the quest 42 pieces of luggage, which are mistakenly left behind (see Snark Fit 1 The Landing, stanza 7). Many interpret this as being one bag for each year of the Baker/Carroll's life, the emotional baggage that the Baker must leave behind in order to go on his quest for the snark.
And, of course, the preface (see snark preface) contains a reference to another Rule 42, this one the very Western No one shall speak to the Man at the Helm.
This writeup created with the help of the Annotated Edition of the Hunting of the Snark, and http://www.empirenet.com/~dljones/