Biography Edward Lear
Edward Lear (12 May 1812 â€“ 29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.
Lear was born into a middle-class family in the village of Holloway, the 21st child of Ann and Jeremiah Lear. He was raised by his eldest sister, also named Ann, 21 years his senior. Ann doted on Lear and continued to mother him until her death, when Lear was almost 50 years of age. Due to the family's failing financial fortune, at age four he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together.
Largely educated by himself, Lear has been described as idiosyncratic yet brilliantly talented. Lear also suffered from health issues. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, and bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father. The event scared and embarrassed him. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. How Lear was able to anticipate them is not known, but many people with epilepsy report a ringing in their ears or an "aura" before the onset of a seizure. In Lear's time epilepsy was believed to be associated with demonic possession, which contributed to his feelings of guilt and loneliness. When Lear was about seven he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the constant instability of his childhood. He suffered from periods of severe depression which he referred to as "the Morbids."
Lear travelled widely throughout his life and eventually settled in Sanremo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named "Villa Tennyson." The closest he came to marriage was two proposals, both to the same woman 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on a circle of friends and correspondants, and especially, in later life, on his Suliot chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson. After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in 1888, of the heart disease from which he had suffered since at least 1870. Lear's funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. Hassall, Lear's physician, not one of Lear's many lifelong friends being able to attend.
Illustrations of the Family of the PsittacidÃ¦ (1832)
Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles by J.E. Gray
Views in Rome and its Environs (1841)
Gleanings from the Menagerie at Knowsley Hall (1846)
Illustrated Excursions in Italy (1846)
Book of Nonsense (1846)
Journal of a Landscape Painter in Greece and Albania (1851)
Journal of a Landscape Painter in Southern Calabria (1852)
Book of Nonsense and More Nonsense (1862)
Views in the Seven Ionian Isles (1863)
Journal of a Landscape Painter in Corsica (1870)
Nonsense Songs and Stories (1871)
More Nonsense Songs, Pictures, etc. (1872)
Laughable Lyrics (1877)
Nonsense Botany (1888)
Tennyson's Poems, illustrated by Lear (1889)
Facsimile of a Nonsense Alphabet (1849, but not published until 1926)
The Scroobious Pip, unfinished at his death, but completed by Ogden Nash and illustrated by Nancy Ekholm Burkert (1968)
The Quangle-Wangle's Hat (unknown)