A major rediscovery and reevaluation of a lost strand of English literature from one of today's most brilliant scholars. Nonsense verse in England is generally thought to have its origins in Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. Noel Malcolm's remarkable book lays before us the extent of its flourishing a full two hundred and fifty years earlier, with the work of such now nearly forgotten nonsense poets as Sir John Hoskyns and John Taylor. It presents an anthology of their work, much of it published here for the first time since the 17th century, and in a long introduction discusses the origins and development of the genre in England, and the history of medieval and Renaissance nonsense poetry in Europe. It is a brilliant addition to the study of English literature in the 17th century.