It is Lewis Carroll's sublimely weird nonsense epic about an ill-fated hunting mission by a group of bizarre characters. Carroll says of his eight fits of Snarkdom that there is no real symbolism - the Snark is just a Snark. Or more precisely, a Boojum. Numerous scholars have pooh-poohed this, arguing that no Victorian writer can understand how he is influenced by his time, insisting that the Snark-hunt is an analog for any number of human journeys that ultimately end in ruin (e.g. seeking material wealth or advanced social position). And Gardner gives their arguments due consideration, including a discursively hilarious parody of Snarxist academia. But my favorite theory has to be Gardner's, that the Snark, to contemporary readers, most closely represents existential nonbeing, not so much because I agree with it, but because it perfectly captures the zeitgeist of 1962, when the world was one thumb on a button away from nuclear annihilation.