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Inventing Edward Lear with Sara Lodge
November 22, 2018 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm£5 – £23.95
Join Sara Lodge at Golden Hare Books for a fascinating talk on the life and times of Edward Lear, poet, naturalist and extraordinary polymath of the Victorian Age.
Lodge’s new book, Inventing Edward Lear, contains newly discovered biographical material, and truly brings this remarkable man to life on the page.
“Inventing Edward Lear is an exceptional, valuable, original study, presenting new materials on aspects of Lear’s life and work.”
—Jenny Uglow, author of Mr Lear and The Lunar Men
Edward Lear wrote some of the best-loved poems in English, including “The Owl and the Pussycat,” but the father of nonsense was far more than a poet. He was a naturalist, a brilliant landscape painter, an experimental travel writer, and an accomplished composer. Sara Lodge presents the fullest account yet of Lear’s passionate engagement in the intellectual, social, and cultural life of his times.
Lear had a difficult start in life. He was epileptic, asthmatic, and depressive, but even as a child a consummate performer who projected himself into others’ affections. He became, by John James Audubon’s estimate, one of the greatest ornithological artists of the age. Queen Victoria—an admirer—chose him to be her painting teacher. He popularized the limerick, set Tennyson’s verse to music, and opened fresh doors for children and adults to share fantasies of magical escape. Lodge draws on diaries, letters, and new archival sources to paint a vivid picture of Lear that explores his musical influences, his religious nonconformity, his relationship with the Pre-Raphaelite movement, and the connections between his scientific and artistic work. He invented himself as a character: awkward but funny, absurdly sympathetic. In Lodge’s hands, Lear emerges as a dynamic and irreverent polymath whose conversation continues to draw us in.
Sara Lodge is Senior Lecturer in the School of English at the University of St Andrews, specializing in nineteenth-century literature and culture. She is the author of Thomas Hood and Nineteenth-Century Poetry and Jane Eyre: A Reader’s Guide to Criticism. Lodge has also worked as a speechwriter for the United Nations Secretary-General in New York and, as a journalist, writes regularly for the British and American press.