More on Alleged 1888 "Limerick" Occurrence

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Dec 22 12:21:42 UTC 2008

The web site of the Limerick Special Interest Group addresses the 1888 dating of the _Book of Limericks_:

The truth is that Little, Brown, a publisher of law books and other "respectable'' works, did not publish its first piece of fiction until 1896 and it is unlikely that it would have published Lear at all in 1888 (the year of Lear's death).  It acquired in 1898 the general list of Roberts Brothers, which had published Nonsense Books in 1888, and Little, Brown, in all likelihood, included the Little, Brown title page with the newly obtained sections of the 1888 Nonsense Books in a subsequent printing.  Since Little, Brown published A Book of Limericks copyrighted 1908, the publication of this edition would have been 1898-1908, probably closer to the mid point.  This edition contains sections from Lear's books entitled "A Book of Nonsense," "One Hundred Nonsense Pictures and Rhymes," "Nonsense Songs," and "Laughable Lyrics."

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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