Edward Lear is well-loved for his "nonsenses", from joyous limericks to great love songs, and for his wonderful natural history paintings, landscapes and travel writing. But although Lear belongs to the age of Darwin and Dickens, his genius for the absurd and his dazzling word-play make him a very modern spirit. He was also a man of great simplicity and charm - children loved him - yet his humour masked epilepsy, depression and loneliness. Jenny Uglow's beautifully illustrated biography brings us his swooping moods, passionate friendships and restless travels. Above all it shows how this uniquely gifted man lived all his life on the boundaries of disciplines and desires - an exile of the heart.
Paperback, 608 pages