That Singular Person Called Lear: A Biography of Edward Lear, Artist, Traveller, and Prince of Nonsense

Susan Chitty, Author Atheneum Books $18.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-689-11897-5
A shortsighted, timid man, the next-to-youngest of 21 children, Edward Lear suffered all his life from epilepsy (though his great love, Frank Lushington, was never aware of it). Even so, he explored widely in India, Ceylon and the Middle East. From the age of 14, he earned his living by drawing birds and painting landscapes and at his death left some 10,000 works of art. This first biography since Vivien Noakes's in 1969 begins with the six happiest weeks of Lear's lifein the spring of 1849, when he and Lushington traveled together. The book then goes back to his unhappy childhood in Highgate, his many years in Italy and Greece, the brief period when he gave drawing lessons to Queen Victoria and his subsequent life on the Riviera. Lear's paintings are forgotten, but there have been countless editions of his limericks and nonsense verses. How pleasant to know him through this lively, sympathetic introduction by the British author of Not to My Mother. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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