John Arthur Nichol

The Next Hundred Lears: Limericks After Lear

Edward Lear is remembered, and rightly so, as the Father of the Limerick. Were it not for him, this little five line verse form may never have become such a beloved, ubiquitous part of our literary and popular culture.
Yet the very thing that makes the limerick so appealing, held no appeal for Edward Lear. The final line of his verses offered no twist, and it didn’t seek to make his readers giggle. It was a summing up, and nothing more.
But Lear had opened Victorian eyes to the possibilities inherent in the limerick: His Book of Nonsense was a runaway bestseller.
In 1872 Lear published one hundred new limericks, hoping to repeat his earlier success. But while his earlier verses are still fondly remembered today, still anthologised, still quoted in mainstream and social media, his next hundred limericks are unknown.
Because, by 1872, the limerick had taken on a life of its own, and was romping towards the twentieth century with outlandish, irreverent and often obscene delight.
And Lear couldn't follow. It just wasn't in his nature to go there. So having set the limerick on its journey, he now stood alone and watched it vanish in the distance.
Limericks After Lear breathes new life into Edward Lear's creations. Book One, The Fifth Line, took A Book of Nonsense as its starting point and sent all 112 verses off in new directions.
Now, Book Two retrieves the forgotten verses of 1872 and presents them complete: one hundred original Lears, plus a brand new, family-friendly limerick for each.
The Next Hundred Lears … Two hundred limericks you won’t have met before. And they might even make you giggle 😊

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