Filed under Edward Lear

An Edwardly Learical World

An Edwardly Learical World

Since all of Edward Lear’s writing, all of it, falls under the category of nonsense, I thought that to wrap up this sadly brief foray into the Learical world, we could glance at what makes something a nonsense work. There are plenty of definitions, philosophical-academic discussions, wiki and dictionary entries that attempt to pinpoint the essence of nonsense. It’s fantastical, whimsical, fanciful. Sometimes it plays with words, championing sound over meaning. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s amusing, sometimes it’s dark. But always, it’s nonsense… Continue reading

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Lear’s Recipe for Amblongus Pie

THREE RECEIPTS FOR DOMESTIC COOKERY (from http://www.nonsenselit.org) TO MAKE AN AMBLONGUS PIE Take 4 pounds (say 4 1/2 pounds) of fresh Amblongusses, and put them in a small pipkin. Cover them with water and boil them for 8 hours incessantly, after which add 2 pints of new milk, and proceed to boil for 4 hours more. When you … Continue reading

A Nonsense Alphabet, published posthumously, 1952

A Nonsense Alphabet, published posthumously, 1952

Another Nonsense Alphabet is not as brilliant as most of Edward Lear’s work. It resembles a zine, cheap and quickly constructed. The pictures are rough, fast sketches, less lively than his limericks or pseudo biology and botany. The comedy isn’t at its peak, the nonsense isn’t at it’s peak. Not bad stuff, per se, just not as particularly sharp as his other work. So why do I include it here among the best of his work? Well… Continue reading

The Owl and the Pussycat, 1871

The Owl and the Pussycat, 1871

The Owl and the Pussycat is the best nonsense poem of all time. Edward Lear’s nonsensical words gently undercut a sentimental story, balancing romance with frivolity, sense with nonsense, adventure with security, and the result is a story whose perfect meter and easy rhyme lull one to a state of blissful conviction that, yes, the world could be lovely if only it were full of owls and pussycats. Continue reading

A Homage to Edward Lear

A Homage to Edward Lear

This posting is long overdue. Yet perhaps no time is the right time to pay homage to a man who births brilliance from sadness. Edward Lear, impoverished epileptic, clownish artist, misfit bumbling socialite, endearingly teary-eyed poet, and above all, a man whose name should ring out side by side with Lewis Carroll, but very rarely does. Continue reading