Book of Nonsense

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Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father. The event scared and embarrassed him.

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Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. When Lear was about seven years old he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the instability of his childhood.

A Book Of Nonsense

He suffered from periods of severe melancholia which he referred to as "the Morbids. Lear was already drawing "for bread and cheese" by the time he was aged 16 and soon developed into a serious "ornithological draughtsman" employed by the Zoological Society and then from to by the Earl of Derby , who kept a private menagerie at his estate, Knowsley Hall. He was the first major bird artist to draw birds from real live birds, instead of skins. Lear's first publication, published when he was 19 years old, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in His eyesight deteriorated too much to work with such precision on the fine drawings and etchings of plates used in lithography, thus he turned to landscape painting and travel.

Among other travels, he visited Greece and Egypt during —49, and toured India during —75, including a brief detour to Ceylon. While travelling he produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings in a distinctive style, which he converted later in his studio into oil and watercolour paintings, as well as prints for his books.

Edward Lear - Wikipedia

Between and Lear spent his summers on Monte Generoso , a mountain on the border between the Swiss canton of Ticino and the Italian region of Lombardy. Throughout his life, he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson 's poems; near the end of his life, a volume with a small number of illustrations was published. In personal notes, together with drawings, Lear gathered his impressions on the Italian way of life, folk traditions, and the beauty of the ancient monuments. Of particular interest to Lear was the Abruzzo , which he visited in , through the Marsica Celano, Avezzano, Alba Fucens , Trasacco and the plateau of Cinque Miglia Castel di Sangro and Alfedena , by an old sheep track of the shepherds. Lear drew a sketch of the medieval village of Albe with Mount Sirente, and described the medieval village of Celano, with the castle of Piccolomini dominating the vast plain of Lago Fucino, which was drained a few years later to promote agricultural development.

At Castel di Sangro, Lear described the winter stillness of the mountains and the beautiful basilica. Lear primarily played the piano, but he also played the accordion, flute, and guitar. He published four settings in , five in , and three in Lear's were the only musical settings that Tennyson approved of.

While he never played professionally, he did perform his own nonsense songs and his settings of others' poetry at countless social gatherings, sometimes adding his own lyrics as with the song "The Nervous Family" , and sometimes replacing serious lyrics with nursery rhymes. Lear's most fervent and painful friendship was with Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an infatuation for him that Lushington did not wholly reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear's death, the disparity of their feelings constantly tormented Lear.

Indeed, Lear's attempts at male companionship were not always successful; the very intensity of Lear's affections may have doomed these relationships. The closest he came to marriage was two proposals, both to the same woman 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions, he relied instead on friends and correspondents, and especially, during later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Lear travelled widely throughout his life and eventually settled in San Remo , on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the s, at a villa he named "Villa Tennyson.

After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in of heart disease , from which he had suffered since at least Lear's funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr.

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Hassall, Lear's physician, none of Lear's many lifelong friends being able to attend. Lear is buried in the Cemetery Foce in San Remo. The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in and an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lear's birthplace area is now marked with a plaque at Bowman's Mews, Islington, in London, and his bicentenary during was celebrated with a variety of events, exhibitions and lectures in venues across the world including an International Owl and Pussycat Day on his birth anniversary.

In Lear published A Book of Nonsense , a volume of limericks which went through three editions and helped popularize the form and the genre of literary nonsense. In he published Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets , which included his most famous nonsense song, The Owl and the Pussycat , which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby.

Many other works followed. Despite extensive travels across Europe and further beyond — through Italy, Greece, Albania, Palestine, Syria and India — and a remarkable work rate that produced an estimated 10, watercolours, he was never fashionable among art collectors, and often struggled financially. More private emotions may have come into it, too; Lear had a series of intense friendships with men, most of all the young barrister Franklin Lushington, although his feelings were never reciprocated.

Often since, in the nights of June, We sit on the sand and watch the moon;— She has gone to the great Gromboolian plain, And we probably never shall meet again! Lear himself never appears to have had a successful romantic or sexual relationship, and his beloved servant Giorgio Kokali died in , leaving him alone apart from his cat Foss, immortalised in many drawings.

This article is available under the Creative Commons License. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who pursues a white rabbit with a pocket watch and falls down a rabbit hole into a world where nothing is quite as it seems.

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    Nonsenses and Limericks Today, the name Edward Lear is closely associated in many minds with a particular form of poetry: the limerick. Coe, Yale MAH Almost all are funny, and many are deliciously absurd: There was a Young Lady whose chin, Resembled the point of a pin; So she had it made sharp, And purchased a harp, And played several tunes with her chin. The text I have used is the one in H. Jackson's The Complete Nonsense of EL , which is far from complete, actually; you will look in vain for the above limerick, for example, the one that appeared in the title page of the first edition.

    I took this from V. Noakes's biography.