The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear

ISBN: 089190090X
ISBN 13: 9780891900900
By: Edward Lear

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Genres

Children Childrens Classics Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Humor Humour Poetry To Read

About this book

Reprint. Originally published: London: Faber and Faber, 1947.

Reader's Thoughts

Keith

Nonsense comes in many varieties. Some would argue that nonsense needs to, by definition, not make sense. That’s a pretty restrictive definition that would exclude most of the work of Lear and Carroll. A broader definition encompasses any verse or writing that is absurdly humorous or perversely illogical (or perversely logical, for that matter). From Hey Diddle Diddle to Monty Python’s fish slapping skit, nonsense has a long history. Nonsense, though, is wasted on children. They live their lives in one continuous blur of sights and colors and sounds that make little sense to them. They live in the freedom of nonsense. Adults, however, need nonsense. Confronted by the daily dissonance between idea and reality, logic and illogic, reason and craziness, intent and result, adults become contorted themselves into knots of rationalization and submerged anger/fear as they try to force sense upon everything (when, in fact, most things are nonsensical). Nonsense unties these knot and lets us see the worst of the world – and helps us understand it – by putting it in terms of its own (il)logic. We can let go of the pretense and the self-inflicted fiction. Some things are too awful to be put into a tragedy. For these, comedy is the only available form, for if we didn’t laugh at them, logic and reason dictate a stark response. Thus the works of Edward Lear: Unhinged, absurd, eclectic, bizarre, violent and humorous. Individually, they are oddities, but on the whole, Lear provides a fantastically entertaining read that is hard to put down. If you find a moral, so be it. But don’t go looking for one. Lear's first book, A Book of Nonsense (1846), is particularly violent and unsuited for children. A man is smashed with a gong, a man is smashed with a hammer, one cuts off his thumbs, one is drowned, another is knocked down with a poker, or jumps off a cliff (after reading Homer), a wife is kept in a coffin-like box her entire life, and so on. Peter Cottontail this is not. Lear’s world is weird and dangerous and full of strange characters. “They” are a menacing presence always threatening to destroy non-conforming behavior. Lear’s later books are much lighter and more children-oriented, but they still contain the humor and pathos of his earlier work, even if they lose a bit of the dark edge. The Jumblies, The Owl and the Pussycat, and The Courtship of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo are sensuous pleasures to the ears and the mind. Give up the need to make sense of everything and enjoy Lear... Who has written such volumes of stuff!Some think him ill-tempered and queer, But a few think him pleasant enough.p

Sarah Jacquie

Like an original Shel Silverstein, or at least the Victorian variety. Mum shared this with me when I was little, and it still holds a dear place in my heart. We lived in England, and each night before school I'd read. This book was often my friend through the night. All night long I'd read, and later my mum would tell me of her own love for the Dong and the Jumblies, and still I love this book so much. Once he catches your heart and mind, it belongs to him forever.

Sandra

Very strange. It might be different for those who grew up with these stories but to me it simply was too much nonesense (as I should have expected!)

Manny

I love the poem where he introduces himself! From memory:How pleasant to know Mr Lear!Who has written such masses of stuffSome think him ill-tempered and queerBut a few find him pleasant enough.He sits in a beautiful parlourWith hundreds of books on the wallHe drinks quite a lot of MarsalaBut never gets tipsy at all.He has many friends, laymen and clericalOld Foss is the name of his catHis body is perfectly sphericalHe weareth a runcible hat.He reads, but he cannot speak, SpanishHe cannot abide ginger beerEre the years of his pilgrimage vanishHow pleasant to know Mr Lear!

Sara

5 stars for The Owl and the Pussycat, the Jumblies, and Self-Portrait. 1-2 stars for almost everything else in this cursed book. You'd think "nonsense" would be more fun to read, but this was an absolute chore to finish. I have to confess, by the last 50 pages I was just skimming along, praying for it to end.

Araceli Esparza

Wanna laugh read this book! its an oldie but a goodie!

Zim Dela Peña

Brilliant!!! :-D

Sara

I'm not sure which edition of Edward Lear's nonsense poetry I read as a kid so I picked this one. Really enjoyed it!

Michael R

What nonsense, with just a few chuckles. Best suited for younger children with broad vocabularies.

Jude Brigley

Happy.

Alex Hope Goldberg

100 years before Edward Gorey's "Gashlycrumb Tinies" and 125 years before Tim Burton's "Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy," there was Edward Lear's books of complete nonsense. This collection is a great match for those who love the literary nonsense of Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written around the same time). Whimsical and sometimes a little dark (ie: How to Make Gosky Patties), these rhymes and songs are really fun to read-aloud. If you haven't yet heard The Owl and the Pussycat or The Jumblies, please ask someone to read them to you, post-haste!

Havva

Should have read it when I was younger.

Ryan Rainey

This is a book written by Edward Lear. This book contains his best rhyming works that he ever wrote. He includes all of his original drawings that were intended for each part of his collection of rhymes. Each rhyme was very funny. This book includes song rhymes, rhyming lyrics, stories, and alphabet rhymes. There really isn't a conflict, plot, resolution, or setting. This is basically a book of rhymes. If i was to describe this book in one word I would say that it is nonsensical. My favorite rhyme from this book is "The Old Man with a Nose". It was very funny and the picture went exactly along with the rhyme. This book of rhymes meets the sound characteristic for poems. All of the rhymes in this book rhyme from line to line exactly. An example of this is like in the rhyme "The Old Man with a Beard" the words beard and feared rhyme exactly. Each of these poems bring clear images to the readers mind. As I read each poem in this book the image that appeared in my mind was very close to the ones present with each poem. An example of the is from the poem " The Old Man with a Nose" as you read this poem you think of a man with a nose like an elephant, and that is exactly like the picture that is presented. The poems from this book provide very good insight. Once you read this book you can't say you are not in good spirits. Each poem is funnier than the past one. There is a lot of creative word play used in this book through the poems. There are words that are used in our everyday language that are made to work with the poems. This would be appropriate in the class room when you need to lift the spirits of the students in your classroom. This book will definatly make every student in your classroom laugh. I really enjoyed reading this book. Every poem made me laugh. I really felt like I was in a better mood after reading this book. The one thing that struck me as I read this books was how everything rhymed which made it easier to read and predict what word was going to be used next. Im not really sure how this book would relate to my life besides that this books is very funny much like me.

Brogan

There was a young lady like me,Who read Edward Lear in a tree,She then began weaning,Away from all meaning,That influenced young lady like me.

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