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Lear Nonsense

By Joan Milligan

In honor of April Fools’ Day, some nonsense from Edward Lear (1812-1888):

There was a young Lady whose nose
Was so long that it reached to her toes;
So she hired an Old Lady, whose conduct was steady,
To carry that wonderful nose.

  • - From The complete nonsense book

Edward Lear, the twenty-first and last surviving child of an unlucky stockbroker, did not have the happiest of childhoods. He was unhealthy and his family unstable. Yet throughout his life, he enjoyed children and reveled in writing and drawing silly poems and pictures. His Book of Nonsense, published in 1846, was wildly popular. Even many of “serious” works have an enchanted quality about them. He travelled widely and painted exotic scenes of places such as India, Egypt and Jerusalem.

You can enjoy more works by Edward Lear in the Libraries:

ARTstor (database) has high-quality images of dozens of Lear’s paintings and hundreds of his drawings.

Rare Books – Victor and Irene Jacobs Collection:

Roesch Library

Curriculum Resource Center in Fitz Hall

  • Joan Milligan is Special Collections Cataloger for the Libraries.
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