London: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge, 1862. Item #03959
Early Edition of Edward Lear’s “Book of Nonsense”
LEAR, Edward. A Book of Nonsense. Sixth Edition. with Many New Pictures and Verses. London: Routledge, Warne, and Routledge. [ca. 1862].
Sixth edition (first published in 1846). Oblong small quarto (5 7/16 x 8 3/8 inches; 138 x 212 mm.). [1, title, verso with publishers monogram], [1, dedication , verso blank],  leaves, printed on one side of the leaf only. With 112 woodcuts after designs by the author. Leaf 73 expertly repaired at blank fore-margin, last leaf with neat strengthening of inner gutter. Small oval blind-stamp of Hale & Howorth, Manchester on front blank.
Publisher's quarter red cloth over tan pictorial boards with the title-page Limerick repeated on the front and rear boards. An excellent example of an early edition.
“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).