Edward Lear and the Play of Poetry

ISBN : 9780198708568

James Williams; Matthew Bevis
416 ページ
156 x 234 mm

Of all the Victorian poets, Edward Lear has a good claim to the widest audience: admired and championed by critics and poets from John Ruskin to John Ashbery, he has also been read, heard, and loved by generations of children. As a central figure in the literature of nonsense Lear has also shaped the evolution of modern literature, and his work continues to influence and inspire writers and readers today. This collection of essays, the first ever devoted solely to Lear, builds on a recent resurgence of critical interest and asks how it is that the play of Lear's poetry continues to delight, and to challenge our sense of what poetry can be. These seventeen chapters, written by established and emerging critics of poetry, seek to explore and appreciate the playfulness embodied in the poems, and to provide contexts in which it can be better understood and enjoyed. They consider how Lear's poems play off various inheritances (the literary fool, Romantic lyric, his religious upbringing), explore particular forms in which his playful genius took flight (his letters, his queer writings about love), and trace lines of Learical influence and inheritance by showing how other poets and thinkers across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries played off Lear in their turn (Stein, Eliot, Auden, Smith, Ashbery, and others).


James Williams and Matthew Bevis: Introduction: Edward Lear and the Play of Poetry
1 James Williams: Lear and the Fool
2 Michael O'Neill: 'One of the Dumms': Edward Lear and Romanticism
3 Sara Lodge: Edward Lear and Dissent
4 Peter Swaab: 'Some think him ... queer': Loners and Love in Edward Lear
5 Peter Robinson: Edward Lear: Celebrity Chef
6 Matthew Bevis: Falling for Edward Lear
7 Daniel Brown: Being and Naughtiness
8 Anna Henchman: Fragments out of Place: Homology and the Logic of Nonsense in Edward Lear
9 Daniel Karlin: 'The Owl and the Pussy-Cat', and other Poems of Love and Marriage
10 Hugh Haughton: Playing with Letters: Lear's Episthilarity
11 Anna Barton: The Sense and Nonsense of Weariness: Edward Lear and Gertrude Stein read Tennyson
12 Anne Stillman: T.S. Eliot plays Edward Lear
13 Adam Piette: 'Now listen, Mr Leer!': Joyce's Lear
14 Seamus Perry: Auden's Lear
15 William May: Drawing away from Lear: Stevie Smith's Deceitful Echo
16 Adam Phillips: Edward Lear's Contribution to British Psychoanalysis
17 Stephen Ross: Edward Lear, John Ashbery, and the Pleasant Surprise
Select Bibliography


James Williams is a Lecturer in English Literature at the University of York. His publications include essays on Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Alfred Tennyson, Samuel Beckett, and Victorian comic verse. He is currently completing a short monograph, Edward Lear, in the Writers and Their Work series (Northcote House). ; Matthew Bevis is a Lecturer in English at Oxford University, and a Fellow of Keble College. He is the author of The Art of Eloquence: Byron, Dickens, Tennyson, Joyce (OUP, 2007; paperback 2010) and Comedy: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2012), and editor of Some Versions of Empson (OUP, 2007) and The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry (OUP, 2013; paperback 2015).