Saturday, November 21, 2009

building a canvas canoe

Augustus Somerville wrote 'Shikar near Calcutta with a trip to the Sunderbans' in 1924. I spent the best part of yesterday afternoon reading his accounts at the National Library. Its pages were a lacy network of holes from insect trails.

I am looking at a range of writings from the 1920's and 1930's as this was around the time that my grandfather's tiger cub came to their home in Barrackpore.

I want to share a chapter and my copy of its accompanying illustration (by George Grant), in my next post. It's fairly certain that Somerville has employed some poetic licence. He mentions 'friends' but nowhere in the book is anyone named. I was also curious about the changing gender of the snake where, at his initial encounter, it goes from being a mother defending her young, to when he must confront the reptile and it switches to a masculine gender. Also, the location of the incident is different in the text and illustration.

And here is a handy diagram (my copy) from the book on how to build a canvas canoe.

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