The Complete Clerihews by E.C. Bentley

One of the joys of last Christmas was being presented with a set of E.C. Bentley’s classic “Trent” crime books by OH; he only wrote three, and the two I’ve read so far have been absolutely marvellous. However, there was a 4th Bentley volume in the form of “The Complete Clerihews”; a collection of short, snappy rhymes named after their inventor, Edmund Clerihew Bentley himself!

complete clerihews

The Wikipedia definition of the Clerihew is “a whimsical, four-line biographical poem invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley. The first line is the name of the poem’s subject, usually a famous person put in an absurd light. The rhyme scheme is AABB, and the rhymes are often forced.” The introduction of the book goes into some detail as to what attempts by others can really be called Clerihews, and which ones fall by the wayside. They’re very, very funny, of course, and rather than spend time going on about them, I thought I would reproduce a few of my favourites here for you to enjoy – well worth a moment of anyone’s time! 🙂

goeringAs you can see, each Clerihew comes with an illustration, from a variety of sources (including Bentley’s son Nicholas) – and even some from G.K. Chesterton!

e a poe(Poe has gone a little lopsided, sorry – it’s not like that in the book!)

bev nOne of my favourites is, of course, the Beverley Nichols one – I think it captures him quite well, despite being a back view!

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