Word Ways


Jim Puder


For a fact, Lewis Carroll was well acquainted with limericks from an early age onward. We know this because there has come down to us a set of four original limericks which he "published" when he was only thirteen and still best known as Charles Dodgson. It is also the case that Carroll could hardly have failed to notice the phenomenon when, over the next few decades, Edward Lear's several books of illustrated limericks met with enormous popular success. And it is certainly true that, over the course of his writing career, Carroll published a good deal of light verse which could easily have been expressed in limerick form, including some eight score five-line verses whose rhyme schemes differ but slightly from the limerick's.