Edward Lear wrote and illustrated some of the best-loved poems in English including ‘The Owl and the Pussy-cat’ and ‘The Quangle Wangle’s Hat’. But the father of nonsense was not only a poet. This is a man described by Audubon as one of the greatest ornithological artists of the age, who was selected by Queen Victoria to be her personal painting teacher, who popularized the limerick, and who set Tennyson’s verse to music.
In this illuminating new account, Lodge draws on diaries, letters, and new archival sources to paint a vivid picture of Lear that explores his musical influences, his religious nonconformity, his relationship with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and the connections between his scientific and artistic work. In Lodge’s hands, Lear emerges as a dynamic and irreverent polymath whose conversation continues to draw us in.
Dr Sara Lodge is a Senior Lecturer at the University of St Andrews, specialising in nineteenth century literature and culture. Her journalism has featured in British and American publications, and she has previously worked as a speechwriter for the United Nations Secretary-General in New York.
We will have mulled wine warming on the fire and mince pies for all; do join us for what is sure to be a lovely pre-Christmas evening, as this brilliant St Andrews academic takes us on a journey into our literary past.