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Knowing Edward Lear

Knowing Edward Lear is a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Oxford University. The research is founded on collaborations with a range of organisations, including the BBC, Harvard University, the Ashmolean Museum, the British Academy, the Natural History Museum, the Tennyson Society, and The IKON Gallery. Much of the work has been made freely available to the public via YouTube, iTunes U, and other online resources, and Matthew Bevis’s monograph on Lear will be published by Oxford University Press.


The project seeks to examine Lear’s nonsense writing alongside his natural history drawings, landscape paintings, travel books, correspondence, and diaries. It studies his achievement in relation to a broad range of literary and cultural contexts, and it also aims to explore his legacy, from the beginnings of the modernist experiment to the present moment — roughly, from T. S. Eliot’s comment to Stravinsky that Lear should be read alongside Mallarmé, to John Ashbery’s claim that Lear was his ‘all-time favourite poet’. 

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