Edward Lear

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Edward Lear

Edward Lear (Holloway, England, May 12, 1812-San Remo, Italy, January 29, 1888) was an English writer, illustrator and artist known for his absurd poetry and limericks (Short humorous poems, of five lines, in which the first two and the last rhyme).

He was born in Holloway, at that time a town in North London, being the twentieth child. He was raised by a sister twenty-two years older than him. At the age of 15, he and his sister left the family home to become independent. Self-taught, Lear began working as an illustrator of anatomy for doctors and later specialized in animal illustrations. His first publication, at the age of 19 years, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830. His drawings were well received, comparing them with those of Audubon. [Citation & required] Following the publication of Parrots, it was invited to live on the estate of the Earl of Derby, at that time the president of the Linnaean Society of London, to draw the animals of the private zoo there, a task that lasted almost five years From 1837, he hardly visited England, devoting much of his time to travel through Europe, the Holy Land and then to India, to write, draw and paint, and finally, he decided to live permanently in San Remo, where he died. illustrated trips and landscape pictures. In 1846, he gave private lessons of topographical drawing to Queen Victoria of England.

For the rest of his life he made serious drawings although he became famous for his humorous works. In 1846 he published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that would be reissued 25 times throughout his life.In 1865 he published The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple, and in 1867 published his most famous absurd work , The Owl and the Pussycat, who wrote for the children of his boss, Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby. [Citation & required]

Lear was never in good health. From the age of 17 until his death he suffered epilepsy (grand mal) as well as bronchitis, asthma and, in old age, partial blindness.

In 1886, the prominent English critic, John Ruskin, would write in an article about his 100 favorite authors for Pall Mall Magazine, that:

I really do not know any other author to whom I am half grateful for my idle life than Edward Lear. I will put you in the first place of my favorite authors.

In the same article, regarding the book Book of Nonsense, write:

… is the most beneficial and innocent book of all the books ever produced.

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