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Edward Lear’s serious nonsense poetry

His work is wild and infused with melancholy—a new biography tells his story

By Thomas Marks   May 2018

“O let us be married! too long we have tarried." Granger/REX/Shutterstock ,The Granger Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

As Edward Lear prepared to visit Palestine in 1857, he asked the painter William Holman Hunt for any introductions that might prove useful in Jerusalem. “Tell them you introduce a most irregular & uncomfortable fool,” wrote Lear, “partly swell—partly painter, who will never do any good—to himself or anybody else: & advise them parenthetically to stop his unpleasant rumblings by emptying a large bucket of water on his noddle.”

Lear was always…

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