Art: Lear Without Bosh

"It is queer," Edward Lear once wrote to a friend, "that I am the man as is making some three or four thousand people laugh in England all at one time. . . ." But to staid and sensible Victorians, who seemed to have a safety-valve passion for nonsense, there was nothing queer about it. Edward Lear's volumes of limericks, his world of Jumblies, scroobious snakes, runcible spoons and Dongs with Luminous Noses, set English gentlemen roaring into their port and schoolkids giggling into their bedtime hot milk.

"How pleasant to know Mr. Lear!"...

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