Having written about Lewis Carroll, It occurred to me that there was really no good reason to omit Edward Lear. He was certainly not a literary genius in the sense of one who has contributed significantly to our understanding of the world we live in and the people with whom we interact. But he was responsible for popularizing, in effect for creating, one of the best loved of verse forms.
Were it not for Edward Lear, we would not have limericks in such profusion as we now enjoy. He wrote hundreds, and many of them are still favourites. One has only to think of:
There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
to appreciate Lear’s particular genius, in providing such splendid entertainment to the world at large.