Libro de Nonsense (Book of Nonsense)

Edward Lear
Translation from English by Herrín Hidalgo

ISBN: 978-84-943625-8-3
Books for Children Collection, number 18 / Spanish edition, with the English original version of the poems / Original title: Book of Nonsense / Translation from English: Herrín Hidalgo / 1st edition: April 2017 / 18,5 x 23 cm. / 264 pages / black illustrations on colour printed paper / hardcover with dust jacket / printed at Brizzolis, Madrid, Spain

Since its first publication in 1846, the Book of Nonsense, a classic of children’s literature, has been continuously republished. Apparently, it is just a collection of humorous verses, but there must be something more about it since it has been read by all types of people. This edition gives special care to the translation and the presentation of the drawings.

Since it was first published in 1846, Book of Nonsense has been repeatedly reissued. What is it about this book that interests so many readers of such varied backgrounds? Apparently, they are only humorous verses accompanied by drawings, but the book addresses a set of profound and important subjects: the particular relationship between humans and animals; a series of prodigious nourishment cases; the fear some people feel towards those who are different; the convenience of a good education to move through new environments; the incredible feats performed by octogenarians, and so on.

The author could have written some philosophical meditations or a treaty on good practices, but being the wild draughtsman and sophisticated poet that he was (or vice-versa), he ended up creating a book for children. What is the point in publishing this work in 2017? Well, we cannot say it makes any sense, but it was something we had wished to do for a long time. Firstly because, although it is a classic that allows all kinds of versions, it is surprising how few editions have been concerned about the good presentation of the drawings; and this is despite the influence Lear has had on so many artists. To name a few: Franciszka Themerson, Edward Gorey, and Quentin Blake.

This Book of Nonsense, honouring its title, also aims to make children and adults abandon for a few seconds the technological distractions that consume most of their free time and to devote themselves to practicing rhymes. It is a wonderful pastime that makes one feel good. In an instant, we will see ourselves become wild and sophisticated poets living in nature and eating rare varieties of wild berries. And if at any moment we find ourselves surrounded by annoying people (which exist both in the 21st and the 19th century), we will know how to scare them away following Lear’s example: we will write funny verses and they will act as the most effective spell


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