Bibliography–Secondary sources

Secondary sources

At some point, I should divide these into categories… until then, you get the full list. And you’ll like it.


Almansi, Daniela. “Gate-Keeping and Gate-Crashing in Nonsense and Translation. The case of fiddle-de-dee: Do you know languages?” CTIS Occasional Papers 6 (2010): 41-53.

_______________.”Nonsensing Translation: How to Turn the Spotlight on the Blind Spots of Interpretation.” in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 56-65. Abstract here.

Andersen, Jorgen, “Edward Lear and the Origin of Nonsense.” English Studies, 31 (1950): 161-166.

Baker, William, “T.S. Eliot on Edward Lear: An Unnoted Attribution,” English Studies, 64 (1983): 564-566.

Barton, Anna. “Literary Nonsense” in Oxford Bibliographies. Web. 2017. (a sample is here).

____________.“Delirious Bulldogs and Nasty Crockery: Tennyson as Nonsense Poet.” Victorian Poetry. 1 (2009): 313–330.

Barton, Anna, and Catherine Bates. “‘Beautiful Things’: Nonsense and the Museum.” In Literary Bric-à-Brac and the Victorians: From Commodities to Oddities. Edited by Jonathan Shears and Jen Harrison, 49–65. Nineteenth Century. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2013.

Bedamatta, Urmishree. “Playing with Nonsense: Toward Language Bridging in a Multilingual Classroom” (Children’s Literature in English Language Education, 1: May, 2013). This is about the use of nonsense as a bridge between languages in Indian classrooms. Web.

Bhadury, Poushali. “Fantastic Beasts and How to Sketch Them: The Fabulous Bestiary of Sukumar Ray.” in South Asian Review. 34:1 (2013) 11-38. Web.

Bouissac, Paul, “Decoding Limericks: A Structuralist Approach,” Semiotica, 19 (1977): 1-12.

Bourbon, Brett. “The ‘Twitterlitter’ of Nonsense: Askesisat Finnegans Wake.” James Joyce Quarterly 2 (2002): 217–232.

Byrom, Thomas, Nonsense and Wonder: The Poems and Cartoons of Edward Lear. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1977.

Cammaerts, Emile, The Poetry of Nonsense. London: Routledge, 1925.

Chanda, Anurima. “Postcolonial Responses to the Western Superhero: A Study though Indian Nonsense Literature.” Lapis Lazuli. 5:1, 2015. Web.

Charlton, W. “Nonsense.” in The British Journal of Aesthetics. 17.4 (1977): 346-360.

Chesterton, G.K., “A Defence of Nonsense,” in The Defendant (London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1914), pp. 42–50. Web.

Chitty, Susan, That Singular Person Called Lear. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1988.

Colley, Ann C., Edward Lear and the Critics. Columbia, SC: Camden House, 1993.

_________. “Edward Lear’s Limericks and the Reversals of Nonsense,” Victorian Poetry, 29 (1988): 285-299.

_________. “The Limerick and the Space of Metaphor,” Genre, 21 (Spring 1988): 65-91.

Cuddon, J.A., ed., revised by C.E. Preston, “Nonsense,” in A Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 4th edition (Oxford: Blackwell, 1976, 1998), pp. 551–58.

Davidson, Angus, Edward Lear: Landscape Painter and Nonsense Poet. London: John Murray, 1938.

de Bruijn, Annette. “Never Do What Your Mother Tells You to Do”: Nonsense and the Interrogative Function in Annie M. G. Schmidt’s Children’s Poetry.” in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 20-27. Abstract here.

Deleuze, Gilles, The Logic of Sense, trans. Mark Lester with Charles Stivale, ed. Constantin V. Boundas. London: The Athlone Press, (French version 1969), 1990.

Dilworth, Thomas, “Edward Lear’s Suicide Limerick,” The Review of English Studies, 184 (1995): 535-38.

_________. “Society and the Self in the Limericks of Lear,” The Review of English Studies, 177 (1994): 42-62. 

Dolitsky, Marlene, Under the Tumtum Tree: From Nonsense to Sense. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1984.

Ede, Lisa S., “The Nonsense Literature of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll”. unpublished PhD dissertation, Ohio State University, 1975. 

_________. “Edward Lear’s Limericks and Their Illustrations” in Explorations in the Field of Nonsense, ed. Wim Tigges (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1987), pp. 101–116. 

_________. “An Introduction to the Nonsense Literature of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll” in Explorations in the Field of Nonsense, ed. Wim Tigges (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1987), pp. 47–60. 

Flescher, Jacqueline, “The language of nonsense in Alice,” Yale French Studies, 43 (1969–70): 128-44

Graziosi, Marco, “The Limerick” on Edward Lear Home Page. Web.

Greer, Jennifer. “‘All sorts of pitfalls and surprises’; Competing Views of Idealized Girlhood in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books.” Children’s Literature 31 (2003): 1-24.

Guiliano, Edward, “A Time for Humor: Lewis Carroll, Laughter and Despair, and The Hunting of the Snark” in Lewis Carroll: A Celebration, ed. Edward Guiliano (New York, 1982), pp. 123–131.

Haight, M.R., “Nonsense,” The British Journal of Aesthetics, 11 (1971): 247-56.

Hark, Ina Rae, Edward Lear. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1982.

_________. “Edward Lear: Eccentricity and Victorian Angst,” Victorian Poetry, 16 (1978): 112-122.

Heyman, Michael, Isles of Boshen: Edward Lear in Context. PhD dissertation, University of Glasgow, 1999. [pdf]

_________.“Anushka Ravishankar’s Indian Nonsense.” The Horn Book. 82: 6 (2006): 675-6. Web.

_________. “A New Defense of Nonsense; or, ‘Where is his phallus?’ and other questions not to ask” in Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Winter 1999-2000. Volume 24, Number 4 (186-194)

_________. “An Indian Nonsense Naissance” in The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense, edited by Michael Heyman, with Sumanyu Satpithy and Anushka Ravishankar. New Delhi: Penguin, 2007.

_________. “Introduction.”in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 5-8. Excerpt here.

_________. “The Original Interactive Multimedia Game: Edward Lear’s Literary Nonsense.” in The Five Owls. 15.4 (2001): 81-84. Web.

_________.”The Perils and Nonpereils of Literary Nonsense Translation,” in Words Without Borders. 2014. Web.  

Heyman, Michael and Kevin Shortsleeve. “Nonsense.” in Keywords for Children’s Literature. NYU Press, 2011.

Hilbert, Richard A., “Approaching Reason’s Edge: ‘Nonsense’ as the Final Solution to the Problem of Meaning,” Sociological Inquiry, 47.1 (1977): 25-31.

Holdquist, Michael. “What is a Boojum? Nonsense and Modernism.” in Peter Brooks, ed. The Child’s Part (pp. 145-64). Boston: Beacon Press.

Huxley, Aldous, “Edward Lear,” in On the Margin (London: Chatto & Windus, 1923), pp. 167–172 

Jackson, Holbrook. “Masters of Nonsense” in All manner of folk; interpretations and studies. London: G. Richards, 1912. Web.

Khasawneh, Hana F. The Dynamics of Nonsense Literature: 1846-1940. Unpublished PhD thesis. The University of Sussex. 2008. Web.

Lecercle, Jean-Jacques, Philosophy of Nonsense: The Intuitions of Victorian Nonsense Literature. London, New York: Routledge, 1994.

____________________. “Translate it, translate it not.” in Translation Studies. 1.1 (2008): 90-102. Starting with the impossibility of translating nonsense, moving towards “total translatability.” Indeed!!

Lehmann, John, Edward Lear and his World. Norwich: Thames and Hudson, 1977.

Malcolm, Noel, The Origins of English Nonsense. London: Fontana/HarperCollins, 1997.

Mays, Michael. “Finnegan’s Wake, Colonial Nonsense, and Postcolonial History.” College Literature3 (1998): 20–34.

McGillis, Roderick, “Nonsense,” A Companion to Victorian poetry, ed. by Richard Cronin, Alison Chapman, and Anthony Harrison. Oxford: Blackwell, 2002. 155-170.

Minslow, Sarah. “Challenging the Impossibility of Children’s Literature: The Emancipatory Qualities of Edward Lear’s Nonsense.” Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 46-55. Abstract here.

Nel, Philip. Dr. Seuss: American Icon. Bloomsbury, 2003.

Noakes, Vivien, Edward Lear: The Life of a Wanderer, 1968. Glasgow: Fontana/Collins, revised edition 1979.

_________. Edward Lear, 1812-1888. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985.

Nock, S. A., “Lacrimae Nugarum: Edward Lear of the Nonsense Verses,” Sewanee Review, 49 (1941): 68-81.

“Nonsense Pure And Simple” The Spectator. Nov. 3, 1888. 1503-1504.  Web. A response to Strachey’s article “Word-Twisting versus Nonsense.” This article is on a beta site, and the transliteration of the text is seriously faulty. Rather than read the type, be sure to click on the pdf pages, the original pages.

“Nonsense Verse” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. pp. 950-951.

Nöth, Winfried, “The Art of Self-Reference in Edward Lear’s Limericks” in Interdisciplinary Journal for Germanic Linguistics and Semiotic Analysis. 10.1, (2005) 47-66. Web.

Orero, Pilar. The Problem of Translating “Jabberwocky.” The Nonsense Literature of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear and their Spanish Translators. Lewiston, NY; Lampeter: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007.

Orwell, George, “Nonsense Poetry” in Shooting an Elephant and Other Essays. London: Secker and Warburg, 1950. pp. 179–184. Web.

Osgood Field, William B., Edward Lear on my Shelves. New York: Privately Printed, 1933.

Parham, Maggie. “What We Choose It To Mean.” in The New Statesman and Society. 4.135 (1991): 36-37.

Parsons, Marnie. Touch Monkeys: Nonsense Strategies for Reading Twentieth-Century Poetry. Theory/Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.

Partridge, E., “The Nonsense Words of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll,” in Here, There and Everywhere: Essays Upon Language, 2nd revised edition. London: Hamilton, 1978.

Pierce, Joanna Tapp. “From Garden to Gardener: The Cultivation of Little Girls in Carroll’s Alice Books and Ruskin’s ‘of queens’ gardens.'” Women’s Studies 29.6 (2000): 741-61.

Pitcher, George. “Wittgenstein, Nonsense, and Lewis Carroll.” Massachusetts Review 3 (1965): 591–611.

Prickett, Stephen, Victorian Fantasy. Hassocks: The Harvester Press, 1979. 

Reider, John. “Edward Lear’s Limericks: The Function of Children’s Nonsense Poetry.” Children’s Literature. 26 (1998): 47-61.

Reike, Alison, The Senses of Nonsense. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1992. 

Robinson, Fred Miller, “Nonsense and Sadness in Donald Barthelme and Edward Lear,” South Atlantic Quarterly, 80 (1981): 164-76.

Rother, James. “Modernism and the Nonsense Style.” Contemporary Literature2 (1974): 187–202.

Schanoes, Veronica. “Queen Alice and the Monstrous Child: Alice through the Looking-Glass.” Children’s Literature. 45. (2017): 1-20.

Schiff, Stephen. “Edward Gorey and the Tao of Nonsense.” The New Yorker. (11.9.1992): 84-94.

Sewell, Elizabeth, The Field of Nonsense. London: Chatto and Windus, 1952.

Shortsleeve, Kevin. “The Cat in the Hippie: Dr. Seuss, Nonsense, the Carnivalesque, and the Sixties Rebel.” The Oxford Handbook of Children’s Literature. Eds. Lynne Vallone and Julia Mickenberg. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011

_________________. “Edward Gorey, Children’s Literature, and Nonsense Verse.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, (27.1), Spring 2002, pp. 27-39.

_________________. “Nonsense, Magic, Religion, and Superstition.” in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature (53, 3): 2015 pp. 28-36. (Excerpt here)

_________________. The Politics of Nonsense: Civil Unrest, Otherness and National Mythology in Nonsense Literature. Unpub. D.Phil dissertation, Keble College, University of Oxford. 2007.

_________________. Unhappily Ever After: Edward Gorey and Children’s Literature. Unpub. M.A. thesis. University of Florida, 2002.

Simoniti, Barbara.”How to Make Nonsense: The Verbalizing Procedures of Nonsense in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books.”Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 66-71. Abstract.

Snider, Clifton. “Victorian Trickster: A Jungian Consideration of Edward Lear’s Nonsense Verse.” Psychological Perspectives 24 (1991). Web.

Sonstroem, David. “Making Earnest of Game: G. M. Hopkins and Nonsense Poetry.” Modern Language Quarterly. 2 (1967): 192–206.

Stewart, Susan, Nonsense: Aspects of Intertextuality in Folklore and Literature. Baltimore: The John’s Hopkins UP, 1979.

Strachey, Edward. “Nonsense as a Fine Art.” Quarterly Review. 167 (1888): 335-65. Web. This is perhaps the first great theoretical treatment of nonsense literature.

Swifty, Tom. Perplexicon: Your Pea-Green Guide to Nonsense Literature. Rotterdam: Brave New Books, 2016. An earlier edition was published in 2015 as A Course in Nonsense.

Tarnogórska, Maria.”‘Funny’ and ‘Curious’ Verse: The Limerick in Polish Children’s Literature” Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 37-45. Abstract.

Taylor, A. L. The White Knight: A Study of C. L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). Edinburgh, London: Oliver & Boyd, 1952.

Thomas, Donald. Lewis Carroll: A Portrait with Background. London: John Murray, 1996.

Tigges, Wim, An Anatomy of Literary Nonsense. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1988.

_________. “Edward Lear’s Limericks and the Aesthetics of Nonsense,” Rivista di Studi Vittoriani, XVII-XVIII. 34-35. (2013) 119-138.

_________. ed., Explorations in the Field of Nonsense. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1987.

_________. “The Limerick: The Sonnet of Nonsense?” Dutch Quarterly Review, 16 (1986): 220-236.

_________.  “Nonsense in the Netherlands.” in Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature. 53.3 (2015): 9-19. Excerpt here.

Tulloch, Bonnie. Master’s thesis, A spoonful of silly : examining the relationship between children’s nonsense verse and critical literacy. Simon Fraser University, 2013, unpublished. This thesis looks at Seuss, Silverstein, Dennis Lee, and JonArno Lawson in terms of how their nonsense reminds “children that childhood is essentially an adult concept—a subjective interpretation (i.e., translation) of their lived experiences.” The result is a “potential relationship between nonsense verse and critical literacy.” Web.

van Leeuwen, Hendrik, “The Liaison of Visual and Written Nonsense,” in Explorations in the Field of Nonsense, ed. Wim Tigges (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1987), pp. 61–95.

Wells, Carolyn, “The Sense of Nonsense,” Scribner’s Magazine, 29 (1901): 239-48. 

West, Mark. “Edward Lear’s A Book of Nonsense: A Scroobious Classic,” in Perry Nodelman, ed. Touchstones: Reflections on the Best in Children’s Literature (II, 150-56). West Lafayette, Ind.: Children’s Literature Association Publications, 1987.

White, Laura Mooneyham. “Domestic Queen, Queenly Domestic: Queenly Contraditions in Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 32.2 (2007): 110-28.

Williams, James. “Lewis Carroll and the Private Life of Words.” in The Review of English Studies. 64.266 (2012): 651-671.

Williams, James and Matthew Bevis. eds. Edward Lear and the Play of Poetry. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Willis, Gary, “Two Different Kettles of Talking Fish: The Nonsense of Lear and Carroll,” Jabberwocky, 9 (1980): 87-94.

“Word-Twisting versus Nonsense.” The Spectator, no. 3067 (9 April, 1887): 491-2. Web.

Wullschläger, Jackie, Inventing Wonderland, The Lives and Fantasies of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, J.M. Barrie, Kenneth Grahame, and A.A. Milne. London: Methuen, 1995.



Laffay, A. Anatomie de l’humour et du nonsense. Paris: Masson et Cie, 1970.


Hildebrandt, Rolf. 1970. Nonsense-Aspekte der englischen Kinderliteratur. Weinheim: Beltz.