Category Archives: Commentary

Thanks to Denise Harvey’s hard work, the Greek passages have now been inserted to the end of April. I have also updated the Letters and Maps pages to reflect the period of the entries that are being posted.

In the next few weeks Edward Lear will be seeing the Tennysons, the Nightingales and William Holman Hunt, among others, so keep reading and post your comments, if you want.

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There is no entry for 31 December 1858 in Edward Lear’s diary. Posting will resume tomorrow.

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There are no entries in Edward Lear’s diary for 1858 from 4th to 21st December, so posting will resume on 22nd at the rate of one post a day.

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Back to England

When Edward Lear got back to Corfu on 15 June, he found that, owing to Bowen’s intrigues, Lushington had resigned and was preparing to go back to England. At first he thought he would stay on in Corfu (LEL, 110-1), but then decided to travel with him. The diary resumes in Dover on 23 August, after they have separated and Lear visits a few old friends before going on to London.

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Edward Lear in the Lebanon

Edward Lear, Lebanon, 20 May 1858

There are no more entries in the diary until 6 June, when Lear leaves Beirut after his tour of the Lebanon to go back to Corfu. For Lear’s impressions of the Holy Land and the Lebanon, see his Letter to Lady Waldegrave of 27 May.

Edward Lear, Damascus, 28 May 1858

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Edward Lear in Petra

No more entries appear in the diary until 10 May. However, Lear probably kept a separate diary as he intended to publish further books in his series of “Journals of a Landscape Painter.” The part of this diary covering Edward Lear’s adventures in Petra was published by Franklin Lushington after Lear’s death: “A Leaf from the Journals of a Landscape Painter.” Macmillan’s Magazine LXXV, April 1897, 410-30.

Edward Lear, Ain Gedi and the Dead Sea, 19 April 1858

Lear spent the second half of April travelling to Masada and the Dead Sea before getting back to Jerusalem, which he left on 10 May to visit Lebanon.

Posting will resume next Monday (3 November) with a variable number of entries, I need this week to update the site and catch up with the index and letters pages. Posting one entry per day with the 150-year gap is now scheduled for 1 December, a full month ahead of what I had initially planned!

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Edward Lear, The Citadel at Corfu (1848)

Edward Lear, The Citadel at Corfu (1848), detail

At the beginning of 1858 Edward Lear had been in Corfu for about a month, after spending the spring and summer of 1857 in England, visiting acquaintances, and Ireland, where he had a very pleasant stay at Redhouse, Ardee, with Chichester Fortescue. The main events of the return voyage are told in a letter to Fortescue of 6 December 1857, which ― together with the next one, of 27 December ― also clearly expresses his feelings of restlessness and loneliness on his getting back “home.”

Corfu had been his winter base since 1855, when he moved there to follow Franklin Lushington, who had been appointed Judge of the Supreme Court of the Ionian Islands. As several letters and diary entries make clear, the friendship with Lushington was becoming unsatisfactory.

The indispensable source for Lear’s periods in Corfu remains Philip Sherrard’s edition of The Corfu Years (Lear 1988) which, in addition to extracts from the journals, includes several unpublished letters to his sister Ann, Emily Tennyson, William Holman Hunt and others.

For a brief summary of Lear’s life before the beginning of the diaries, see the Chronology or the first eight chapters of Angus Davidson’s 1838 biography from the forthcoming version of the Edward Lear Home Page.

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