The Complete Nonsense and Other Verse (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 7 Sep 2006
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About the Author
Edward Lear (1812-88) originally earned his living as a commercial artist. A skilled landscape painter and ornothological illustrator, he was art master to Queen Victoria for a time. His nonsense writing began as a sideline to amuse himself and hisfriend's children but soon made him a household name.
Vivien Noakes is the leading authority on Lear; editor of his Selected Letters (1988) and the definitive biography, she also curated the Lear exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1985.
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Top Customer Reviews
Vivien Noakes has edited what must be the most exciting book for Learophiles since Holbrook Jackson's collection in the late 1940s. This will surely become the standard collection of Lear's Verse and Nonsense and Vivien Noakes deserves fulsome praise for her achievement in editing such a wonderful book. Although most people know 'The Owl and The Pussy-Cat', Lear deserves to be far better known than he is for everything else he did.
Unfortunately this book is too big to be stuffed into a Christmas Stocking, but should be given to anyone, adult or child, with a sense of fun. Even a child who cannot read will take delight in Lears quirky illustrations, jolly caricatures of spherical chaps with spindly legs and wonderful pointy shoes, strange creatures such as the Scroobious Pip, and people that resemble birds or beetles. If this book were upon every bookshelf along with Shakespeare the world would be a far happier place.
I know that I originally bought this book because I wanted to own a well-edited collection of Lear's complete nonsense songs. However, going beyond the nonsense songs, this compendium has many strengths in the way Noakes presents the material. It offers up all the surviving nonsense of Lear, including the limericks, nonsense songs and stories. Admittedly, this compendium omits a few things including additional alphabets in a similar format. The works are all presented chronologically. Through it all Noakes presents each work clearly and as accurately as possible, offering her annotations and textual comparisons at the end. I quietly admit that not all the works may hold an interest, especially in the early years, but through this compendium, Noakes presents a convincing portrait of Lear through his nonsense writings.
Although this book is felicitous, I note a few weak points that do not tarnish my feelings towards this book. The chronological order may not be always user-friendly to casual readers who want to read things according to themes. It is a little unhelpful for poems with follow-ons, notably the two parts of Mr and Mrs Discobbolos. These poems, as well as the two related poems about the Jumblies, are in different parts of the book, and it would be helpful if they were together.Read more ›
The content is similar to 'Over the Land and Over the Sea': Selected Travel Journals and Nonsense Writing: Selected Nonsense and Travel Writings which I recommend as an alternative (much better for kindle reading).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love Edward Lear, use this with my elderly clients to reminiscePublished 19 months ago by Mrs. J. Tremain
Six wives of Henry VIII, Battle of Hastings and The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat. These are facts every child needs to learn. Read morePublished on 2 Dec. 2012 by Mel Woods
This book is kept within easy reach so that I can pick it up and read the odd verse to cheer myself up. It's a fantastic bit of escapism and am very happy to have rediscovered it.Published on 27 Nov. 2012 by Ms. M. Burman