I spent September and October 2018 at the Houghton Library in Harvard, as a Library Visiting Fellow, thinking about leftovers and aphorisms (and aphorisms as leftovers) in Edward Lear’s poetry, diaries and letters.
But first, Reader, I will give you a word of warning. This is a foot-off-the-ground novel that came by the left hand…. And if you are a foot-on-the-ground person, this book will be for you a desert of weariness and exasperation. So put it down. Leave it alone. It was a mistake that you made to get this book. You could not know. (Stevie Smith, Novel on Yellow Paper)
Today I’ve been thinking about feet in Edward Lear‘s illustrations.
One of my favourite Stevie Smith poems is ‘The Blue from Heaven’.
King Arthur rode in another world
And his twelve knights rode behind him
And Guinevere was there
Crying: Arthur, where are you dear?
Miss Pauncefort sang at the top of her voice
(Sing tirry-lirry-lirry down the lane)
And nobody knew what she sang about
(Sing tirry-lirry-lirry all the same).
(Stevie Smith, ‘The Songster’)