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Complete Nonsense

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  534 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, Calico Pie and The Pobble Who Has No Toes, together with Edward Lear's crazy limericks, have entertained adults and children alike for over 100 years.

This edition, illustrated by the author, contains all the verse and stories of the Book of Nonsense, More Nonsense, Nonsense Songs, Nonsense Stories, Nonsense Alphabets and Nonsense Cookery. It has
Paperback, Wordsworth Children's Classics, 272 pages
Published October 5th 1994 by Wordsworth Editions (first published June 1st 1940)
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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 18, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Children's)
Shelves: 501, childrens, collection
This children's book is composed of 4 originally-released as individual separate books:
(1) A Book of Nonsense (1846) - composed of several funny 4-line 1-stanza poems accompanying hilarious pictures

(2) Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets (1871) - composed of longer poems, several short outrageously funny stories, pictures of out-of-this-world plants and alphabets whose individual letters are accompanied with silly meanings.

(3) More Nonsense Pictures, Rhymes, Botany, etc. (1872) - basic
I love the poem where he introduces himself! From memory:
How pleasant to know Mr Lear!
Who has written such masses of stuff
Some think him ill-tempered and queer
But a few find him pleasant enough.

He sits in a beautiful parlour
With hundreds of books on the wall
He drinks quite a lot of Marsala
But never gets tipsy at all.

He has many friends, laymen and clerical
Old Foss is the name of his cat
His body is perfectly spherical
He weareth a runcible hat.

He reads, but he cannot speak, Spanish
He cannot abide
Apr 21, 2016 Debalina rated it really liked it
Shelves: limericks
Throughout my idea of Lear was a Children's Limerick writer! From what I had read about his life, that made sense. He wrote those five-lines rhyming poems for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, the 13th Earl of Derby. After reading this compilation, that view of mine changed considerably! This book has the following parts and along with the reactions are listed under :

1. A Book of Nonsense - √ :) :D
I had read this volume earlier separately and its a joyride. Funny! A nice bo
Jul 31, 2011 Havva rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Should have read it when I was younger.
Ryan Rainey
Feb 12, 2012 Ryan Rainey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eced-221
This is a book written by Edward Lear. This book contains his best rhyming works that he ever wrote. He includes all of his original drawings that were intended for each part of his collection of rhymes. Each rhyme was very funny. This book includes song rhymes, rhyming lyrics, stories, and alphabet rhymes. There really isn't a conflict, plot, resolution, or setting. This is basically a book of rhymes. If i was to describe this book in one word I would say that it is nonsensical. My favorite rhy ...more
James Swenson
Sep 12, 2015 James Swenson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to imagine that there is another reputable author who consistently held himself or herself to as limited an artistic standard as Edward Lear. This volume contains over 100 pages of what we can only call limericks, not one of which is as good as the first poem I found by typing "random limerick" into Google.

But hey -- judge for yourself. Here's a sample from Lear:
"There was an Old Person of Bangor,
Whose face was distorted with anger!
He tore off his boots,
And subsisted on roots,
Sep 01, 2012 Greta rated it it was ok
Yes, I did think this book was more or less complete nonsense. It was a type of humor I just don't appreciate. I do like a good limerick. "The limerick packs laughs anatomical / In space that is quite economical. / But the good ones I've seen / So seldom are clean / And the clean ones so seldom are comical." Edward's are clean, and the last line usually repeats the exact phrase of the first line like this: "There was an Old Man at a casement / Who held up his hands in amazement / When they said, ...more
Apr 30, 2012 Dora rated it really liked it
'There was an Old Man of the Hague
Whose ideas were excessively vague;
He built a balloon
To examine the moon
That deluded Old Man of the Hague.'

' There was a Young Lady of Tyre
Who swept the loud chords of a lyre;
At the sound of each sweep
She enraptured the deep,
And enchanted the city of Tyre.'
5 stars for The Owl and the Pussycat, the Jumblies, and Self-Portrait. 1-2 stars for almost everything else in this cursed book. You'd think "nonsense" would be more fun to read, but this was an absolute chore to finish. I have to confess, by the last 50 pages I was just skimming along, praying for it to end.
aljouharah altheeyb
Apr 18, 2014 aljouharah altheeyb rated it it was amazing
مثل ماقلت من قبل، أدب التفاهة حاجة غريبه وجميلة وممتعة!
أفكار كثيره عجيبه تُخلط وتتحرك وتخرج بسلاسة وكأنها تحدث كُل يوم.
شخصيات لا تفكر بإمكانية تحويلها لأبطال قصص تجدها ترقص وتسافر في مغامرات طويله لا معنى لها.
حبيت إدورد لير من هالكتاب. حس الفكاهة عنده جداً عالي ومميز.
Bryan Kornele
Nov 16, 2011 Bryan Kornele rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other, 2011
What a strange read. I will admit I skimmed most of it because the content is some of the oddest ramblings I have come across. Kind of like being inside the head of a writer/poet who is mentally unstable or having a nervous breakdown. Some of the hand drawings were creative though.
Aug 21, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure which edition of Edward Lear's nonsense poetry I read as a kid so I picked this one. Really enjoyed it!
Michael R
What nonsense, with just a few chuckles. Best suited for younger children with broad vocabularies.
Dec 08, 2013 Zim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant!!! :-D
Valerii Shablei
Feb 01, 2017 Valerii Shablei rated it liked it
"There was an Old Man of Cape Horn
Who wished he had never been born;
So he sat on a chair,
Till he died of despair,
That dolorous Man of Cape Horn"

Best book to teach kids what life is all about.
Jas Pham
This book includes a series of Nonsense from the author but i love most is the 'Nonsense Alphabets'. You will eventually find yourself read out loud all those poems and laugh a lot.

However, the rest of the book is a little boring to me, esp. 'A book of nonsense' even the illustrations seem funny and very interesting though.
Jun 15, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Nonsense comes in many varieties. Some would argue that nonsense needs to, by definition, not make sense. That’s a pretty restrictive definition that would exclude most of the work of Lear and Carroll. A broader definition encompasses any verse or writing that is absurdly humorous or perversely illogical (or perversely logical, for that matter). From Hey Diddle Diddle to Monty Python’s fish slapping skit, nonsense has a long history.

Nonsense, though, is wasted on children. They live their lives
Vincent O'Neil
Nov 18, 2015 Vincent O'Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mother had a very early edition of Edward Lear’s BOOK OF NONSENSE. It wasn’t a first edition, but a very nifty looking third edition.

There was a Young Person of Smyrna,
Whose Grandmother threatened to burn her;
But she seized on the cat,
And said, ‘Granny, burn that!
You incongruous Old Woman of Smyrna!’

I wish I had hung on to it, but it slipped away.

I don’t remember if it had the complete compilation of Lear’s verses, but I don’t think it contained such poems
Pete daPixie
Edward Lear's nonsense was a favourite read for John Lennon. He kept a copy in his bedroom at Menlove Avenue, and perhaps explains John's drawing style as well as the lyric writing of tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
The laureate of nonsense is collected together with five publications; 'A Book of Nonsense' (1846), 'Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany and Alphabets' (1871), 'More Nonsense, Pictures, Rhymes, Botany,Etc.'(1872), 'Laughable Lyrics, A Fourth Book of Nonsense Poems, Songs, Botany, Mus
Jan 18, 2009 Reenie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes it's relaxing to read something into which absolutely nothing can be read - (How's that for a strange sentence?) - and Edward Lear certainly delivers on that front. You could try looking for an allegory or a moral lesson or just some symbolism in his nonsense, just like you could try looking for meaning in fractals or winning lotto numbers - it's beside the point, or even absolutely pointless. And that means that its awesome comes purely from the way it plays with language and images, ...more
Alex Hope Goldberg
100 years before Edward Gorey's "Gashlycrumb Tinies" and 125 years before Tim Burton's "Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy," there was Edward Lear's books of complete nonsense. This collection is a great match for those who love the literary nonsense of Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was written around the same time). Whimsical and sometimes a little dark (ie: How to Make Gosky Patties), these rhymes and songs are really fun to read-aloud. If you haven't yet heard The Owl and the Pu ...more
Sarah Jacquie
Like an original Shel Silverstein, or at least the Victorian variety. Mum shared this with me when I was little, and it still holds a dear place in my heart. We lived in England, and each night before school I'd read. This book was often my friend through the night. All night long I'd read, and later my mum would tell me of her own love for the Dong and the Jumblies, and still I love this book so much. Once he catches your heart and mind, it belongs to him forever.
May 21, 2011 Elizabeth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I can hold my breath that long in real life, too. I was saying that as I typed it.
Sep 16, 2011 mairywo rated it it was amazing
By far the funniest and most suited book in my bathroom. Open it wherever you want and read a hilarious limerick.[return]I've read it several times already and always discover new stories I didn't really notice the time before.[return]We had to read several of Lear's limericks in English class but I never really apppreciated the humor in them until I got this book a few months ago.
Sin sentido???Pues para mí sí que tiene, y mucho!!hay que encontrarle el sentido al sin sentido...

Creo que es libro más original que me he leído nunca, mezclando poesía, narrativa, dibujos, abecedarios, canciones, recetas de cocina....increíble!!Leeré más de Edward Lear; dejaré que me sorprenda aún más!
Ashleigh Foreman
ART ART ART ART ART! I love this. a collection of poems, songs and short story's. I could spend hours reading this and each time getting a different perspective. if I remember rightly (it was a year or so ago) the first poem is a duck an a kangaroo. incredible imagination and great geographical knowledge combing fact and faction in a way it makes it impossible to separate the two.
May 06, 2008 Carolyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All
An absolutely wonderful and funny book for all human beings be they adult or child. Put this book on your list to keep on hand to read to any children in your life. Children have fabulous senses of humor. Edward Lear is just as smart and funny today as he was in the mid 19th century when he lived, wrote, and illustrated. No home should be without this book.
Իդեալական բան ա, երբ գլուխդ պայթում ա ստատֆիզիկայի դասին ու ոչ մի ձև չես կարողանում կենտրոնանալ: Մի երկու բանաստեղծությունը կարգին թարմացնում են:
Նոր եմ հասկացել, որ non-sense շատ եմ սիրում, շատ բոց ժանր ա ախր:
Adriano Koehler
Honestly, I think all other reviews are overrated. It's interesting, it's amusing, but the author nonsense is just exotic. I think it brings a different view about his time, but nothing more than this.
Dec 29, 2011 Sandra rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
Very strange. It might be different for those who grew up with these stories but to me it simply was too much nonesense (as I should have expected!)
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Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator and writer known for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form which he popularized.

For more information, please see

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