Edward Lear celebrated with Google doodle

The author of The Owl and the Pussycat has been celebrated with a Google doodle.

English author, artist, illustrator and poet Edward Lear has been celebrated with his very own Google doodle. The man behind The Owl and the Pussycat would have been 200 years old today.

As well as pioneering the literary style 'nonsense' -- different from absurdism and surrealism, according to David Quantick in the Independent -- Lear helped popularise limericks, though not the bawdy type beloved of rugby clubs.

Lear was born into a middle-class family in London's Holloway. As well as epileptic seizures, bronchitis and asthma, he suffered from depression from his early teens (something he referred to as "the Morbids"). He spent much of his life in Italy accompanied by an Albanian chef and his cat Foss. Such was his admiration for his moggy that when he had a new house built, he made it a replica of his old one so as not to distress his feline friend.

Lear was drawing by the time he was 16, and was employed by the Zoological Society. In 1846 he published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that brought the form to wider attention. Then in 1867 he published his most famous work, The Owl and Pussycat. It's a love story between the eponymous characters. Lear wrote it for the children of Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. It later became the subject of a Stewart Lee routine called Pea Green Boat.

Lear died at his villa in 1888, of the heart disease he'd been suffering since at least 1870.

Google doodles celebrate remarkable people in all walks of life, from entertainment to the arts and science. Google set up a doodle store a while ago so you can buy items bearing your favourite designs. There's an archive here, so you can find all the golden oldies. The first was in 1998 to let people know the Google team had decamped to Burning Man festival in Nevada.

Which is your favourite? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook

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