Cover Image: The Fifth Line

The Fifth Line

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Member Reviews

A book better savored in small bites that gorged on all at once.  The author took on the task of refining and updating a collection of limericks by Edmund Lear.  Lear must have ben writing in the paleolithic era of limericks, as none of his have satisfying punchline conclusions.  So this book is an attempt to re-work Lear's originals into the format that makes limericks so loved and hated.  For example, Old:
There was an Old Person of Buda
Whose conduct grew ruder and ruder,
Till at last with a hammer they silenced his clamor,
By smashing that Person of Buda.

Revised:
There was an Old Person of Buda,
Who couldn't have been any cruder;
So they thought he was best
Relocated to Pest,
Where the people were generally ruder.

I enjoyed this collection, and through the author made interesting choices in updating the verses to incorporate punchlines even when it made the new versions stray wildly from the old ones.  But depending on your taste for (clean, silly, slightly archaic) limericks, your mileage may vary.
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The Fifth line: Limericks After Lear is a fun little book of limericks. The author has adapted one hundred and twelve limericks of Edward Lear's, from four lines limericks to the modern five lines limericks.

I love reading limericks. They are funny, witty, and amusing. This book also embodies all these traits. The author has done a great job adapting the limericks and even made most of them better than the original. 

I would happily recommend the book to all poetry lovers or to people that enjoy reading limericks.
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It has been said that classics can’t be improved upon, but that hasn’t prevented John Arthur Nichol from trying. So when he found the original limericks Edward Lear wanting (not quite maintaining the traditional line form or count, repetitiveness, etc.) he decided to rewrite them. And yes, Nichol does use the traditional syllable count and the prerequisite titular fifth line. So in this slender volume you get the original and the remake side by side to compare and decide which one you prefer. Plus some adorable black and white drawings. Personally, I believe I liked the new versions more, they even made for an occasional laugh out loud moment. Though not like a proper laugh, more along the lines of a titter, snicker or a guffaw. But an adorable diversion, especially for fans of the jocular poetic artform that is a limerick. A very quick read and a perfectly entertaining way to spend 35 minutes or so. Actually, I wish my brain was more awake right now, so I’d review this in a limerick format, but no…maybe at a later date. Yeah, fun was had. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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