The Lives of Victorian Writers Told in Limericks

Interesting Literature

The literary lives of twelve famous Victorians, told in the poetic form they knew so well

Nobody knows for sure why limericks are named limericks. They’re obviously named in honour of Limerick, the city in Ireland, but beyond that nothing is known for certain about why a five-line comic poem should be so named. But the limerick is probably the most recognisable poetic Book of Nonsense Coverform: ask people to name the usual number of lines in a sonnet or villanelle, and you’ll doubtless find some who are in the know, but many will be unable to say for sure. Conversely, it is almost universally known that a limerick is five lines long, with the first, second, and fifth lines usually rhyming (and, to complement this, the third and fourth lines).

As limericks were such a favourite literary pastime of the Victorians – as attested by the popularity of Edward Lear’s limericks in…

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Jamie Dornan’s Wife Will Not Be Watching Fifty Shades of Grey


In perhaps the least surprising news you’ll read all day, Jamie Dornan‘s wife, Amelia Warner, has not yet seen her husband star in Fifty Shades of Grey – nor does she plan on it.

“She hasn’t seen the film and I don’t think she will, to be honest,” Dornan, 32, revealed to the London Evening Standard at the U.K. premiere of the film. “I’d understand if she didn’t want to.”

If that’s not enough to prove that Dornan is far removed from the domineering, flogger-happy BDSM fetishist he portrays in Fifty Shades, he was also a perfect gentleman on set.

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Following the sex scenes he filmed with costar Dakota Johnson, 25, “I’d be a really awful person if I didn’t cover her up after they called cut and she’s naked,” Dornan told the Standard. “I’m not the kind of guy who could just leave…

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Leave Beyonce Alone


Every year during awards season — which seems to last longer than the NBA season and have more flagrant fouls — outrage is expressed over those who are snubbed. In typical shoot-from-the-lip fashion, Kanye West on Sunday night denounced Beck winning the Album of the Year instead of Beyonce. “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us,” he threatened. “We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”

There are several obvious things wrong with that outburst, including that it’s an insult to Beyonce as an artist and as a woman. But, more important, it once again highlights the monumental significance of Beyonce as a cultural icon that goes beyond her music. When we look more closely, we can see that whether she’s…

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