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Undiscovered Edward Lear Poem Found In Private Collection

By July 6, 2021News, Poetry

Poetry written by Edward Lear has been discovered hidden away within a private collection.

The undiscovered poems and letters written by the Victorian nonsense poet were uncovered by University of Nottingham PhD student Amy Wilcockson.

While sifting through manuscripts in the British Library, Amy found some pages written by Lear to a young English woman he had befriended in Italy, a limerick about an old man on a bicycle, and a poem and several other letters, in a large collection of manuscripts known as the Charnwood Autograph Collection.

The poem reads:

There was an old man on a Bycicle,

Whose nose was adorned with an Icicle;

But they said – “If you stop,

“It will certainly drop,

& abolish both you & your Bycicle.

Amy Wilcockson said: “I was flicking through, when I came across a poem, ‘The Last of the Octopods‘.

“I read the poem and laughed out loud; it was humorous and nonsensical.

“Imagine my joy when I read the signature of the poem’s author.”

After some research it dawned on Amy that she had stumbled onto something quite significant.

“I think this is a really major find for 19th century literary studies, and it deserves a wider public audience too,” she said.

The discoveries have since digitised by the British Library.

Amy’s co-researcher Dr Edmund Downey said: “I’ve felt very privileged helping bring these works to light. The texts will make a significant contribution to Lear scholarship.”

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