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British Academy Lectures 2012-13Published in the online Journal of the British Academy$
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Janet Carsten and Simon Frith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265666

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265666.001.0001

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Edward Lear's lines of flight

Edward Lear's lines of flight

Chatterton Lecture on Poetry read 1 November 2012 by

Chapter:
(p.31) Edward Lear's lines of flight
Source:
British Academy Lectures 2012-13
Author(s):

Matthew Bevis

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265666.003.0003

‘Verily I am an odd bird’, Edward Lear wrote in his diary in 1860. This article examines a range of odd encounters between birds and people in Lear’s paintings, illustrations, and poems. It considers how his interest in birds—an interest at once scientific and aesthetic—helped to shape his nonsense writings. It is suggested that poetic and pictorial lines of flight became, for Lear, a means of exploring the claims that art might make on our attention.

Keywords:   Edward Lear, Poetry, Painting, Flight, Birds, Nonsense, science, art

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