“HUNTING THE BOOJUM”
EGO TRIPPING WITH DANTE ALIGHIERI AND LEWIS CARROLL
The heroic misadventure of the Wizard of New Zealand QSM
“Ah! But a man’s reach should exceed his grasp or what’s a heaven for!”
Inspired by “The Hunting of the Snark”
On each December 4th during the years 1970-1973 residents in the charming Victorian precinct of Parkville adjoining Melbourne University might have seen a few students led by a bearded figure in a gown proceeding towards the nearby Burke and Wills Monument. This had been erected to commemorate the starting point of the preposterous and hugely hyped expedition by Burke and Wills which set out to cross Australia from South to North about a hundred years earlier.
This was the site I chose to mark each year’s progress before I set out on my own preposterous expedition to cross the Universe from South to North to mark the 42nd year since my birth. The highlight of the ceremony each year was the reading of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece The Hunting of the Snark. I had reached the halfway point in my life three years earlier and, like Dante, I had found myself in a dark wood faced with a fork in the path. I chose the rough track and, as in Dante’s case, what followed was a series of extraordinary attacks on my psychological, social and cultural wellbeing. I have taken both epic poems as my guide ever since.