|Born||12 May 1812|
Holloway, Middlesex, England
|Died||29 January 1888 75) (aged|
Sanremo, Liguria, Italy
|Occupation||Artist, illustrator, writer, poet|
|Genre||Children's literature, literary nonsense and limericks.|
|Notable works||The Book of Nonsense , The Owl and the Pussycat|
Edward Lear (12 May 1812   – 29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet, who is known mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. 
His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to make illustrations of birds and animals; making coloured drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; and as a (minor) illustrator of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poems.
As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense collections of poems, songs, short stories, botanical drawings, recipes and alphabets. He also composed and published twelve musical settings of Tennyson's poetry.
Lear was born into a middle-class family at Holloway, North London, the penultimate of 21 children (and youngest to survive) of Ann Clark Skerrett and Jeremiah Lear, a stockbroker formerly working for the family sugar refining business.   He was raised by his eldest sister, also named Ann, 21 years his senior. Jeremiah Lear ended up defaulting to the London Stock Exchange in the economic upheaval following the Napoleonic Wars;  owing to the family's now more limited finances, Lear and his sister were required to leave the family home, Bowmans Lodge, and live together when he was aged four. Ann doted on Edward and continued to act as a mother for him until her death, when he was almost 50 years of age. 
Lear suffered from lifelong health afflictions. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, bronchitis, asthma and, during later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father. The event scared and embarrassed him. 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. 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 from 1832 to 1836 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 1830.  One of the greatest ornithological artists of his era, he taught Elizabeth Gould whilst also contributing to John Gould's works and was compared by some to the naturalist John James Audubon. After his eyesight deteriorated too much to work with such precision on the fine drawings and etchings of plates used in lithography, he turned to landscape painting and travel. 
Among other travels, he visited Greece and Egypt during 1848–49, and toured India during 1873–75, 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.  His landscape style often shows views with strong sunlight, with intense contrasts of colour. 
Between 1878 and 1883, Lear spent his summers on Monte Generoso, a mountain on the border between the Swiss canton of Ticino and the Italian region of Lombardy. His oil painting The Plains of Lombardy from Monte Generoso is in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.  
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 1842, Lear began a journey into the Italian peninsula, travelling through the Lazio, Rome, Abruzzo, Molise, Apulia, Basilicata, Calabria and Sicily. 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 1843, 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.
More adventurous was the voyage to the regions of southern Italy in 1847, described in Lear's Journals of a Landscape Painter in Southern Calabria, & c. The broad Calabria section in which Lear tells his itinerary among breathtaking landscapes and often surreal characters, is among the best in his travel literature. 
Lear primarily played the piano, but he also played the accordion, flute, and small guitar.  He composed music for many Romantic and Victorian poems, but was known mostly for his many musical settings of Tennyson's poetry. He published four settings in 1853, five in 1859, and three in 1860. Lear's were the only musical settings that Tennyson approved of. Lear also composed music for many of his nonsense songs, including "The Owl and the Pussy-cat", but only two of the scores have survived, the music for "The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò" and "The Pelican Chorus". 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 1849 and 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.  Another trusted companion in San Remo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1887 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson.
Lear eventually settled in San Remo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast in the 1870s at a villa he named "Villa Tennyson."
Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: "Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph" or "Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps", which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos . 
After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in 1888 of heart disease, from which he had suffered since at least 1870. Lear's funeral was described as a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. 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. On his headstone are inscribed these lines about Mount Tomohrit (in Albania) from Tennyson's poem To E.L. [Edward Lear], On His Travels in Greece:
— all things fair.
With such a pencil, such a pen.
You shadow'd forth to distant men,
I read and felt that I was there. 
The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988 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 2012 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 1846, Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks which went through three editions and helped popularise the form and the genre of literary nonsense. In 1871, he published Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets, which included the 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.
Lear's nonsense books were quite popular during his lifetime, but a rumour developed that "Edward Lear" was merely a pseudonym, and the books' true author was the man to whom Lear had dedicated the works, his patron the Earl of Derby. Promoters of this rumour offered as evidence that both men were named Edward, and that "Lear" is an anagram of "Earl". 
Lear's nonsense works are distinguished by a facility of verbal invention and a poet's delight in the sounds of words, both real and imaginary. A stuffed rhinoceros becomes a "diaphanous doorscraper". A "blue Boss-Woss" plunges into "a perpendicular, spicular, orbicular, quadrangular, circular depth of soft mud". His heroes are Quangle-Wangles, Pobbles, and Jumblies. One of his most famous verbal inventions, the phrase "runcible spoon", occurs in the closing lines of The Owl and the Pussycat, and is now found in many English dictionaries:
They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon. — lines 27–33
Though known for his neologisms, Lear used a number of other devices in his works in order to defy reader expectations. For example, "Cold Are the Crabs"  conforms to the sonnet tradition until its dramatically foreshortened last line.
Today, limericks are invariably typeset as five lines. Lear's limericks, however, were published in a variety of formats; it appears that Lear wrote them in manuscript in as many lines as there was room for beneath the picture. For the first three editions, most are typeset as, respectively, two, five, and three lines. The cover of one edition  bears an entire limerick typeset in two lines:
There was an Old Derry down Derry, who loved to see little folks merry;
So he made them a Book, and with laughter they shook, at the fun of that Derry down Derry!
In Lear's limericks, the first and last lines usually end with the same word rather than rhyming. For the most part they are truly nonsensical and devoid of any punch line or point. They are completely free of the bawdiness with which the verse form is now associated. A typical thematic element is the presence of a callous and critical "they". An example of a typical Lear limerick:
Lear's self-description in verse, How Pleasant to know Mr. Lear, ends with this stanza, a reference to his own mortality:
He reads, but he cannot speak, Spanish,
He cannot abide ginger-beer:
Ere the days of his pilgrimage vanish,
How pleasant to know Mr. Lear! — Stanza 8 (lines 29–32)
Five of Lear's limericks from the Book of Nonsense, in the 1946 Italian translation by Carlo Izzo, were set to music for choir a cappella by Goffredo Petrassi in 1952.
Edward Lear has been played in radio dramas by Andrew Sachs in The Need for Nonsense by Julia Blackburn (BBC Radio 4, 9 February 2009)  and by Derek Jacobi in By the Coast of Coromandel by Lavinia Murray (BBC Radio 4, 21 December 2011).
Lear's written work was used extensively in the short-lived The Tomfoolery Show, a Saturday morning cartoon that was produced by Rankin-Bass and broadcast on NBC in 1970–1971.
A limerick is a form of verse, usually humorous and frequently rude, in five-line, predominantly anapestic trimeter with a strict rhyme scheme of AABBA, in which the first, second and fifth line rhyme, while the third and fourth lines are shorter and share a different rhyme. The following example is a limerick of unknown origin:
Edward St. John Gorey was an American writer, Tony Award-winning costume designer, and artist, noted for his own illustrated books as well as cover art and illustration for books by other writers. His characteristic pen-and-ink drawings often depict vaguely unsettling narrative scenes in Victorian and Edwardian settings.
Nonsense verse is a form of nonsense literature usually employing strong prosodic elements like rhythm and rhyme. It is often whimsical and humorous in tone and employs some of the techniques of nonsense literature.
Nonsense is a communication, via speech, writing, or any other symbolic system, that lacks any coherent meaning. Sometimes in ordinary usage, nonsense is synonymous with absurdity or the ridiculous. Many poets, novelists and songwriters have used nonsense in their works, often creating entire works using it for reasons ranging from pure comic amusement or satire, to illustrating a point about language or reasoning. In the philosophy of language and philosophy of science, nonsense is distinguished from sense or meaningfulness, and attempts have been made to come up with a coherent and consistent method of distinguishing sense from nonsense. It is also an important field of study in cryptography regarding separating a signal from noise.
"The Lady of Shalott" is a lyrical ballad by the 19th-century English poet Alfred Tennyson and one of his best-known works. Inspired by the 13th-century Italian short prose text Donna di Scalotta, the poem tells the tragic story of Elaine of Astolat, a young noblewoman stranded in a tower up the river from Camelot. Tennyson wrote two versions of the poem, one published in 1832, of 20 stanzas, the other in 1842, of 19 stanzas, and returned to the story in "Lancelot and Elaine". The vivid medieval romanticism and enigmatic symbolism of "The Lady of Shalott" inspired many painters, especially the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers, as well as other authors and artists.
"The Owl and the Pussy-cat" is a nonsense poem by Edward Lear, first published in 1870 in the American magazine Our Young Folks: an Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls and again the following year in Lear's own book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl, Janet Symonds, the daughter of Lear's friend and fellow poet John Addington Symonds and his wife Catherine Symonds. The term "runcible", used for the phrase "runcible spoon", was invented for the poem.
Children's poetry is poetry written for, appropriate for, or enjoyed by children.
Bong tree may refer to:
Literary nonsense is a broad categorization of literature that balances elements that make sense with some that do not, with the effect of subverting language conventions or logical reasoning. Even though the most well-known form of literary nonsense is nonsense verse, the genre is present in many forms of literature.
The Tale of Little Pig Robinson is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter as part of the Peter Rabbit series. The book contains eight chapters and numerous illustrations. Though the book was one of Potter's last publications in 1930, it was one of the first stories she wrote.
Alice Rose Provensen and Martin Provensen were an American couple who illustrated more than 40 children's books together, 19 of which they also wrote and edited. According to Alice, "we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist."
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
Elton Hayes was a British actor and guitarist.
Nationality words link to articles with information on the nation's poetry or literature.
John Vernon Lord is an illustrator, author and teacher. He has illustrated texts including Aesop's Fables,The Nonsense Verse of Edward Lear; the Folio Society's Myths and Legends of the British Isles, and He has illustrated classics of English literature including the work of Lewis Carroll and James Joyce. Lord has written and illustrated several children's books, which have been published and translated into several languages. His book The Giant Jam Sandwich has been in print since 1972
Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots is an 1832 book containing 42 hand-coloured lithographs by Edward Lear. He produced 175 copies for sale to subscribers as a part-publication, which were later bound as a book. Lear started painting parrots in 1830 when he was 18 years old, and to get material for his book he studied live birds at the London Zoo and in private collections. The latter included those of Edward Smith Stanley, later 13th Earl of Derby, who had a large menagerie at Knowsley Hall, and Benjamin Leadbeater, a taxidermist and trader in specimens. Lear drew onto lithographic plates for printing by Charles Joseph Hullmandel, who was known for the quality of his reproductions of fine art.
"Runcible" is a nonsense word invented by Edward Lear. The word appears several times in his works, most famously as the "runcible spoon" used by the Owl and the Pussycat. The word "runcible" was apparently one of Lear's favourite inventions, appearing in several of his works in reference to a number of different objects. In his verse self-portrait, The Self-Portrait of the Laureate of Nonsense, it is noted that "he weareth a runcible hat". Other poems include mention of a "runcible cat", a "runcible goose", a "runcible wall", and "the Rural Runcible Raven".
Five Childhood Lyrics is a choral composition by John Rutter, who set five texts, poems and nursery rhymes, for four vocal parts a cappella. Rutter composed the work for the London Concord Singers who first performed them in 1973.
Foss, formally named Aderphos, was the pet cat of Edward Lear, the 19th-century author, illustrator, and poet. A "stumpy-tailed," "portly," and "unattractive" tabby cat, he was a favourite of Lear's and played an important role as a companion in the poet's lonely later years. Foss is mentioned frequently in Lear's correspondence and appears in his illustrations and at least one poem. Foss is said to have been the inspiration for the pussycat in Lear's illustrations for his poem "The Owl and the Pussycat". The funeral that Lear provided for Foss, which included an epigraphed headstone, is said to have been more elaborate than Lear's own.
Arnold Lobel was a children's author and illustrator. He wrote: