The Complete Verse and Other Nonsense

ISBN: 0142002275
ISBN 13: 9780142002278
By: Edward Lear Vivien Noakes

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About this book

The absurd and fanciful verses of Edward Lear-from "The Owl and the Pussy-cat" to "The Jumblies," from "The Scroobious Pip" to countless limericks-have enchanted generations of readers, children and adults alike. This delightful collection, the most comprehensive ever compiled of his work, presents all of Lear's verse and other nonsense writings, including stories, letters, and illustrated alphabets, as well as previously unpublished material. Featuring Lear's own line drawings throughout and an introduction by leading Lear authority Vivien Noakes, this captivating volume reveals a complex man of ample talents, achievements, and influence-and is teeming with timeless nonsense.

Reader's Thoughts

Steve Shilstone

Among Mr. Lear's characters, I really do most sincerely appreciate Violet, Lionel, Guy, and Slingsby.


Sometimes it's relaxing to read something into which absolutely nothing can be read - (How's that for a strange sentence?) - and Edward Lear certainly delivers on that front. You could try looking for an allegory or a moral lesson or just some symbolism in his nonsense, just like you could try looking for meaning in fractals or winning lotto numbers - it's beside the point, or even absolutely pointless. And that means that its awesome comes purely from the way it plays with language and images, which is always fun.That said, apart from the big classics, the ones you probably know already - the Owl and the Pussy Cat, the Pobble Who Has No Toes, and the Quangle-Wangle - there isn't really too much here that you need to know about. They're pleasant, occasionally pretty funny, but that's about all. But they are still definitely good for a laugh or two.


Lear could draw, too. And he knew how to have fun. What is not to love?

Jennifer H

This was fun to skim through


never againg like tree funny ones in the whole book


The book is full of fascinating nonsense.


By far the funniest and most suited book in my bathroom. Open it wherever you want and read a hilarious limerick.[return]I've read it several times already and always discover new stories I didn't really notice the time before.[return]We had to read several of Lear's limericks in English class but I never really apppreciated the humor in them until I got this book a few months ago.


Absolutely must be read aloud - and preferably with other people!

Adam Weber

So much fun for anyone of any age.


'the owl and the pussycat' will always be a favorite. you can probably skip the limericks; although they were made popular by lear, his re-use of the first line as the last line keeps the nonsense from becoming clever.

aljouharah altheeyb

مثل ماقلت من قبل، أدب التفاهة حاجة غريبه وجميلة وممتعة! أفكار كثيره عجيبه تُخلط وتتحرك وتخرج بسلاسة وكأنها تحدث كُل يوم. شخصيات لا تفكر بإمكانية تحويلها لأبطال قصص تجدها ترقص وتسافر في مغامرات طويله لا معنى لها. حبيت إدورد لير من هالكتاب. حس الفكاهة عنده جداً عالي ومميز.

Wendy Meddour

Lear - the master of nonsense. And I do love a bit of nonsense!


An absolutely wonderful and funny book for all human beings be they adult or child. Put this book on your list to keep on hand to read to any children in your life. Children have fabulous senses of humor. Edward Lear is just as smart and funny today as he was in the mid 19th century when he lived, wrote, and illustrated. No home should be without this book.


Overall pretty good. I have to say though that the standards for what makes a good limerick have come a long way since Lear's time.


Lear’s compendium of small jokes and assorted nonsense is delightfully funny, and anticipated the comedy of countless generations that depend on the ridiculous. He sums up this philosophy in a quote to be found in the wonderfully written introduction to this volume: ‘Nonsense is the breath of my nostrils’, he wrote. It is a philosophy as much as a genre. For him it was a response to ‘this ludicrously whirligig life which one suffers from first & laughs at afterwards’. Lear himself was not blessed with an easy life, and his comedy offered him a way out. Such limerick’s as the following that I could not help but linking with the current state of the UN prove the point: There was an Old Man of the Hague,Whose ideas were excessively vague;He built a balloon, to examine the moon,That deluded Old Man of the Hague.However, underneath the nonsense there is a great poet. Verses such as the following from the “Growling Eclogue” offer wonderful imagery:Last week I called aloud, O! O! O! O!The ground is wholly overspread with snow!Is that at any rate a theme for mirthWhich makes a sugar-cake of all the earth?His best, though, are his honest and heartfelt poems of disappointment. Among these, read ‘When the light dies away on a calm summer’s eve’, ‘The gloom that winter casts’, and ‘O dear! How disgusting is life!’. Their beauty can be found in such lines as the following from “Miss Maniac” – “And felt how doubly keen it is to mourn – and mourn alone!”.This is a serious volume. It should be read for its mirth, as well as for the fantastic poet to be found hiding underneath the nonsense.

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