London: Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., 1900. Item #02951
"There was an Old Person of Hove, who Frequented the Depths of a Grove;
Where he Studied his Books, with the Wrens and the Rooks,
That Tranquil Old Person of Hove."
LEAR, Edward. The Book of Nonsense to Which is Added More Nonsense. With all the original pictures and verses. London: Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., [n.d., ca. 1900].
Copyright edition. Oblong quarto (8 x 9 7/8 inches; 202 x 250 mm.). 304 unnumbered pages, with 109 illustrated limericks in the first part and 103 in the second part.
Publishers brown cloth over beveled boards, front cover decorated and lettered in black, spine lettered in gilt. Minimal wear to extremities. An excellent copy.
“The publication in 1846 of Edward Lear’s A Book of Nonsense heralded the arrival of a new literary genre. For centuries nonsense had flourished in the folk tradition of many countries—snatches of it are found in the plays of Aristophanes and Shakespeare, a setting down of the traditional utterances of the Fool. In England such oral nonsense was handed on from generation to generation in nursery rhymes and mummers’ plays, and it was not until 1846—at a time when the oral tradition was beginning to disappear—that Old Derry down Derry, the traditional fool of the mummers, appeared as the author of A Book of Nonsense, and nonsense was brought into the literary fold…The limericks which make up the first edition were written and illustrated during the 1830s, but were not published until February 10th, 1846” (Vivian Noakes, Introduction to Nonsensus, compiled by Justin G. Schiller).