Edward Lear: Celebrating the Contribution to Poetry
He’s a man with a big long beard, a round body, and he love’s children! No, it’s not Santa Claus! It’s the brilliant Edward Lear! We know about his poems but there was a rather interesting story that lead to all of this. With his poems so merry, you would have guessed he’s probably the happiest man earth, but it’s not how it seems. Lear was born May 12, 1812 in Holloway, England. He’s most famous for his contribution to poetry but there is more to his life than those silly nonsense poems!
Edward Lear was born to Jeremiah and Ann Lear as a middle class family in England. During most of his childhood, he lived with his sister whom was named after her mother, Ann. As a child, Edward suffered epileptic seizures, bronchitis, and asthma. He would soon, later in his life, suffer from partial blindness.
Lear’s epileptic condition made him feel embarrassed and guilty, ashamed and sad. His condition lead to severe depression. Lear had his first seizure when he was with his father. They were at Highgate. This is what lead to a life long feeling of shame and dishonor. He’ll be okay though.
Before Lear was famous for his poetry, he was famous for his art. Lear loved to draw and paint and by the age of 16, he got his first job as a ornithological draughtsman for the Zoology Society.
When Lear was 19, he published his first publication, “Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots.” A book filled with illustrations of parrots. Lear was so good at art that he gave Queen Victoria brief drawing lessons.
Later on, he began writing poetry. In 1844, he published, “The Book of Nonsense“. The book has several editions or sequels, “The Book of Nonsense and More Nonsense (1862), Nonsense Songs and Stories (1871) and Nonsense Botany (1888).
Lear’s most famous piece of writing was a poem called “The Owl and the Pussycat“. That piece was about an owl and a pussycat who adored each other so much and they decided to get married. You can read it here. One of the most famous quotes of Lear came from that poem: 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.
Lear died January 29, 1888 of heart disease he had been suffering from for a while. Due to his, hard conditions medical conditions in life, it’s probably why in most of his limericks, people had abnormal features such as long giant noses, weird diet habits, animal features and even more.
Lear is an amazing poet, and illustrator who has contributed greatly to poetry, and to art. His poetry still makes children today laugh and smile like it should.
“Edward Lear.” Wikipedia . Wikimedia Foundation, 05 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 May 2012. .
“The Owl and the Pussycat.” Edward Lear, The Owl and the Pussycat . Web. 11 May 2012. .
Lear, Edward. A Book of Nonsense . New York: Knopf, 1992. Print.