When we were boys, my brother and I used to love reading funny books together. We loved to giggle, and still do. Sometimes our heads go purple with laughter, veins threatening to pop. Anyway, the most fondly remembered book was The Armada Book of Fun. One of our favourite items within was nonsense botany by Edward Lear (1812 – 1888).
As a writer of nonsense poetry and an illustrator of zoological books, perhaps these came to Lear particularly easily. Who’s analysing? A Londoner of Note, Lear was a prodigious talent, as an illustrator, as a cartoonist, but most of all as a writer and poet.
Today we celebrate his 200th birthday. Of all the centenaries and bicentenaries of 2012 – and there are many – this has to be my favourite.