Please join us for a lecture by Matthew Bevis, “Edward Lear’s Happiness”
“I had a bad fit or attack after I wrote last, and fell—happily—in my garden, remaining insensible for some time.” Thus wrote Edward Lear to Lord Carlingford in 1883. This lecture explores some possible connections between poetry and happiness by focusing on Lear’s work, and by considering it in relation both to other nonsense writing and to the Romantic poets from whom he took his bearings. It wonders, just as Lear did, about whether poetry can or should make us happy, and about what happiness might or might not be.
Matthew Bevis is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of English, University of Oxford. He is author of The Art of Eloquence, Comedy: A Very Short Introduction, and other books. His essays have appeared in The London Review of Books, Harper’s, and Poetry.