|Pages/Publication Date:||608 / 2018|
Edward Lear once confessed, "I hardly enjoy any one thing on earth while it is present." The English artist, musician, author, and poet was a man in a hurry, "running about on railroads" from London to country estates and boarding steamships to Italy, Corfu, India, and Palestine. He is still loved for poems like "The Owl and the Pussy Cat" and "The Dong with a Luminous Nose," and remembered for his brilliant natural history paintings, landscapes, and travel writing. But although Lear belongs solidly to the age of Darwin and Dickens (he gave Queen Victoria drawing lessons, and his many friends included Tennyson and the Pre-Raphaelite painters), his genius for the absurd and his wordplay make him a very modern spirit. He was a man of simplicity and charm—children adored him—yet his humor masked epilepsy, depression, and loneliness. Jenny Uglow's illustrated biography, full of the color of the age, illuminates Lear's swooping moods, passionate friendships, and restless travels. She shows how this uniquely gifted man lived his life at the boundaries of social structures, self disciplines, and his desires, in an exile of the heart.