Abstract

Abstract:

This essay considers the colonial dimensions of Victorian nonsense literature through a discussion of the poetry Edward Lear wrote on his visit to India from 1873 to 1875. It argues that his poem “The Cummerbund” not only mocks Anglo-Indian jargon by its absurd misapplication of exotic words, but also, in its lyricism, uses such jargon to arrive at the possibility of language that is suspended from ordinary occurrence and relieved of its public and social nature. The history of the poem and the legacies of Lear’s writing in other Victorian nonsense works suggest the ways in which nonsense both escapes from and relates to the ordinary world.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2052
Print ISSN
0042-5222
Pages
pp. 35-59
Launched on MUSE
2019-03-08
Open Access
No
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