List of Illustrations 'How Pleasant to Know Mr Lear' Foreword by Robin Hanbury-Tenison INTRODUCTION One BOYHOOD Two THE PAINTER OF BIRDS Three THE LITHOGRAPHER Four INTIMATE INTERLUDES Five ITALY Six SOUTHERN ITALY Seven A TASTE OF GREEK LANDS Eight LEAR AT FORTY Nine CORFU Ten THE DEATH OF ANN Eleven GREECE Twelve CRETE Thirteen SUCCESS Fourteen THE HOUSE AT SAN REMO FIfteen TO SEA IN A SIEVE Sixteen INDIA Seventeen THE FALL OF A HOUSE OF CARDS Eighteen THE VILLA TENNYSON Nineteen THE DEATH OF EDWARD Appendix A: The plants in Lear's garden Appendix B: Children of Jeremiah Lear and Ann Skerritt Notes and References Bibliography
Gregarious and popular, Lear had a wide circle of friends, but was often lonely and subject to frequent bouts of depression and debilitating epilepsy, the shame of which he struggled with all his life. Lear belonged to the great tradition of adventurous British travellers, undertaking extensive journeys in Italy and Greece, in Albania, Turkey.
Peter Levi, FSA, FRSL, (1931-2000) was a poet, archaeologist, Jesuit priest, travel writer, scholar, biographer and critic. Professor of Poetry at Oxford from 1984-89, Levi also worked for the Times, travelled with Bruce Chatwin in Afghanistan, with Leigh Fermor in Greece and wrote over 60 highly acclaimed biographies and works of travel, including The Light Garden of the Angel King.
"Unashamedly personal in its approach, [this biography] grew out of a 'lifelong pleasure' in all aspects of Lear's work, and it is Levi's sheer enthusiasm for his subject that is his book's principal strength." Peter Parker, New York Times