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Mr Lear: A Life of Art and Nonsense Hardcover – 5 Oct 2017

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571269540
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571269549
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 35,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Quite wonderful . the astonishing thing is that Lear's serious paintings and nonsense verses were produced by the same person, but Uglow makes a convincing case for thinking that he needed both. His was a life of art and nonsense, the sublime and the ridiculous . Uglow's triumph is to show how his most famous works brought these contradictions together and struck sparks of creative life from them.' (Robert Douglas-Fairhurst Guardian)

'Jenny Uglow, Edward Lear's most sensitive biographer to date, does him proud . a psychologically brilliant portrait . wonderfully rich.' (A N Wilson Literary Review)

Jenny Uglow has written a great life about an artist with half a life, a biography that might break your heart. (Robert McCrum Observer)

'A wonderfully sharp and sympathetic biography . Jenny Uglow's publishers have really gone to town, creating a beautiful object, full of gorgeous colour illustrations, and peppering the text with Lear's verse and drawings. Uglow herself is a perfect biographer, always alert to Lear's artistry, and with amazing antennae for hidden messages.' (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)

The strength of this biography lies in the illumination of the life through the work, including Lear's drawings and paintings ... Uglow excels in insight and sympathetic delicacy, aware that the fascination of this life lies less in event than in character - not only the character of her subject but also his own fascination with character. (Lyndall Gordon New Statesman)

'Sumptously produced, with a handsome cloth spine and printed on thick glossy paper with numerous illustrations, Uglow's biography is richly detailed and astutely empathetic, a splendid portrait of this remarkable man.' (Christopher Hart Sunday Times)

'Generously illustrated with fine reproductions of Lear's art, [Uglow's] book is an outstandingly elegant and perceptive account of a complex, wounded man.' (Jane Shilling Evening Standard)

Edward Lear is best known for his nonsense rhymes [but] was also a brilliant artist whose works ranged from meticulous botanical drawings and grand landscapes to quirky illustrations for his verse. In a book suitably embellished with lavish illustrations and quotations, biographer and historian Jenny Uglow tries to reconcile these two vocations ... Uglow skillfully teases out a colourful story. (Andrew Lycett BBC History Magazine)

This tender biography explores [Lear's] travels, his complicated relationships and how those nonsense verses can help us make sense of their creator. (History Revealed)

'The most perfect historian imaginable.' (Peter Ackroyd)

Book Description

A scrupulously forensic literary appreciation of Edward Lear and his 'nonsenses' by one of our most cherished historians - without losing any sense of fun.

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35 customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

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