Edward Lear

Edward Lear

Born: 12/05/1812 Died: 29/01/1888 Gender: Male Genre: Children's Literature Occupation: Poet and artist

Despite being an artist, illustrator and musician, the multi-talented Victorian Edward Lear is most famous for writing gibberish – literally. Lear’s poems and lyrics pioneered so-called ‘nonsense verse’, in which words are playfully divorced from their meanings, or even made up altogether. Lear is also honoured for popularising the limerick (a form of short, amusing verse), but despite the idiosyncratic wit of his work, his life was lonely, affected by illness and anxieties about his sexuality. He failed to marry or have children, and his most intimate companion – often featured in his drawings – was his beloved cat, Foss.

Image source: Edward Lear, by McLean, Melhuish & Haes © National Portrait Gallery, London

Featured works

Edward Lear’s A Book of Nonsense

Title: A Book of Nonsense Published: 1861 Format: Poetry collection Period: Victorian Genre: Children's Literature Learn more
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