Books: How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear

EDWARD LEAR, THE LIFE OF A WANDERER by Vivien Noakes. 359 pages. Houghton Miffllin. $8.95.

Among the small wonders of the great age of Queen Victoria is the fact that the Queen herself once had a drawing master who wrote The Owl and the Pussy-Cat. Subsidized as they were with honey and plenty of money wrapped up in a five-pound note, the owl and the pussycat went on to achieve that monumental Victorian ideal, a happy marriage. Their creator, Edward Lear, however, never wed, though he sometimes used to talk sentimentally about marriage as...

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