I love this book. My Mum and Dad gave it to me when I was about nine, and I was immediately captivated by the joyous anarchy of Lear’s nonsense, and I’m pleased to say I’ve never grown out of it.
As you can see, it’s been well used, not least in verifying, we thought, the completeness of our list of Lear limerick destinations. You will remember that our blog contained a link to an external site, which very helpfully provided a geographically organised list with links to the limericks. That website was a labour of love, clearly dating from the early years of the internet.
Recently when I tried to access the site it had disappeared. While casting around for a replacement I came across There was an Old Man of Kildare. Oh no, I thought, we were in Ireland just two months ago, and we drove straight past Kildare with no more than a passing comment recalling the eponymous fictional Dr from the TV series. How could we have missed the limerick? Clearly we needed to reset our research.
You will be glad to know that we are now, at last, in safe hands. I have invested in this book:
It is edited, with due academic rigour, by Vivien Noakes, author of an excellent biography of Lear. It was first published back in 2001, so of course I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy it earlier. But I hadn’t expected Lear to continue writing limericks over a century after he died. Within this wonderful book we have found sections labelled Other early limericks and Extra limericks prepared for More Nonsense. So thanks to Ms Noakes’s diligent scholarship, we have some “new” – at least previously unpublished – Lear limericks.
We are delighted, aren’t we Debbie, to have this opportunity to extend our project: we now have the opportunity to visit Harrow, Diss, Twickenham, Leith, Kildare and many other exotic places. Some of which we have recently driven straight past.
We have also taken the opportunity to create our own – definitive – list of limerick places, complete with links to the relevant posts. You can view it here. They do say, if you want something done properly, do it yourself.