Just a quick post to mention a few new resources relating to Edward Lear:
- Never Mind the Pussycat: The Ornithological Art of Edward Lear, the companion site for a 2008 exhibition at the Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University, has information on Lear as a zoological illustrator (mostly from Vivien Noakes’s books).
- Rule-breaking and meaning-making in Edward Lear, an essay by Ciane Ponterotto, from the Revista alicantina de estudios ingleses. No. 6 (Nov. 1993). ISSN 0214-4808, pp. 153-161.
- Reading nonsense: a journey through the writing of Edward Lear is a thesis by K.S. Pendlebury you can download in PDF format.
Finally, if you are lucky enough to be in the UK, why not see King Pelican, a new play by Chris Goode on Edward Lear at the Drum Theatre in Plymouth:
London, 1861. Years before starting to write his nonsense verses (most famously The Owl and the Pussycat), Edward Lear is a struggling landscape painter, hoping to secure his reputation with a series of giant canvases.
But for Lear – epileptic, queer, lonely and beset by illness – things are never easy, and the declining health of his beloved sister Ann brings further cause for concern.
Then, into his studio one day walks a boy with a parcel to deliver…
Chris Goode’s haunting new play, made especially for the Drum, is a tender, offbeat fantasy about one of Victorian literature’s best-loved but least-known figures.
By the way, BBC Radio 4 broadcast The Need for Nonsense on 9 February, also a play on Lear’s relationship with his servant Giorgio. Unfortunately, it is no longer available in the Listen Again section of the site.