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Thursday, August 29, 2002

PO'BMC: Th'impervious horrors of a Lear shore
"T'is a truth universally acknowledged that a sea captain in possession of three noisy children is in want of a ship," said Stephen as he sat in Sir Joseph's office one morning happily pinning butterflies to a piece of card.
"Mmmm," said Sir Joseph noncommitally, thinking his friend had been reading too much.
"A beautiful pea-green one," Stephen added after a moment.
posted by Marco Graziosi 5:59 PM

The Straight Dope: What's a runcible spoon?
Dear Cecil:
What's a runcible spoon? --Theogr, via AOL
Dear Theo:
I can't believe you have to ask this. A runcible spoon is a utensil suitable for runciation. This of course is in contrast to an irruncible spoon, which one runciates at one's peril.
But skeptics pointed out that Lear's drawings of runcible spoons gave no indication of tines or cutting edges. Also the use of a runcible spoon for the pedestrian purpose of eating pickles seemed at odds with the refined original menu of mince and quince. And why should one require a spoon with a cutting edge for quince that, Lear tells us, has already been sliced?
Modern students of runciosity believe that while it may have been inspired by the word "rouncival" (apparently meaning gigantic), runcibilization as we know it today was the invention of Edward Lear.
But the runcible-spoon-as-pickle-fork idea has taken firm root. One sighs, but what can you do? I expect the discovery of the Bong-tree any day.
[Thanks to John Verity.]
posted by Marco Graziosi 5:24 PM

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

The Lady of Shalotte by Alfred Lord Tennisanyone (with a bob of the head to Edward Lear and "The Akond of Swat.")
Winner of the Poetry Parody Contest at the Julia A. Moore Poetry Festival - Peoples' Choice Award 2000.
posted by Marco Graziosi 12:14 PM

David McKie: A little light versifying
Lear celebrates, even venerates, absurdity, especially absurdity practised in the face of public scorn...
The reversionary limerick, as practised by Lear, failed to catch on because it needed a Lear to fashion it.
[A review of Routledge's recent facsimile reprint of the 1861 Book of Nonsense.Thanks to Julie Rybicki.]
Guardian Unlimited
posted by Marco Graziosi 12:08 PM

Ken Nordine
Nordine's topics range far and wide. The opening track, "As of Now," is based on the writings of the second century Roman philosopher and emperor Marcus Aurelius. In "The Akond of Swat," he blasts away at the world of a Middle Eastern despot by utilizing the text of the pioneering 19th-century nonsense writer Edward Lear.
[Nothing else on Lear, but his arrangement of "The Akond of Swat" is so good, actually the best of a Lear poem I have ever heard, that he deserves mention here. Thanks to Julie Rybicki for the link.]
Salon (July 11, 2001)
posted by Marco Graziosi 1:10 AM

Monday, August 26, 2002

"The Limerick is Furtive and Mean..."
From the Maigue poets to Ogden Nash, witty wordsmiths have delighted in composing the oft-risqué five-line verses.
[Nice article, though it repeats the myth of the Irish origin of the limerick and does not mention Lear's direct antecedents. Thanks to Arthur Deex for sending me the link: ah, don't forget to download the full text of the article in pdf format.]
posted by Marco Graziosi 12:08 PM

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