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MAXIMA New Media's
Edward Lear CD-ROM

MAXIMA New Media have kindly sent me a copy of their new CD-ROM: Edward Lear's Book of Nonsense, so here are my impressions.

The package consists of a data/audio CD (both PC and Mac) and a small book which contains the Lear works in their original form. The first track of the CD contains the data and the others have music and readings of the works. I think this is a very good arrangement, allowing the user to choose how to enjoy the poems: he can read them, listen to them or play them on his computer.

The material which is contained in the CD-ROM (and the booklet) is not much, an Absurd ABC (Twenty-Six Nonsense Rhymes and Pictures from More Nonsense, 1872) and two small groups of limericks, one on Crazy Colors and one on Funny Faces as well as a few more limericks and botanies. However, the multimedia presentation is charming and guarantees a long period of use (it was enough for my two weeks' Christmas holiday).

What I found especially fascinating are the animations: these are very simple, in order to maintain the apparent childishness of Lear's illustrations which they use as a starting point, but usually add a nonsensical flavour to the story: for example you can see the nose of the Young Lady "whose nose continually prospers and grows" actually grow out of sight or see children playing with the nose of that remarkable Man who said: "if you choose to suppose That my nose is too long, you are certainly wrong!" or even see and hear the Young Lady "whose chin Resembled the point of a pin" play on her harp.

The great care with which these poems have been translated into multimedia sketches is revealed by the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò rhyme, where you can hear in the background the music Lear wrote for the song about the same character (listen to my midi version) and see his head deflate like a balloon and send him flying around the screen. The choice of music is very good throughout and so is the recitation of the poems, expressive but always very clear: this CD-ROM has evidently been carefully designed in all its aspects (even the "Credits" section is funny).

If you want to have a look at how Lear's illustrations have been colored (the booklet however appropriately has them in the original form) visit the MAXIMA web pages. Here you will also find information about a new product based on Lear material (More Nonsense) which promises to be as good as this one.

The new MAXIMA pages now offer a preview of some of the CD-ROM animations:
Don't miss them!

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There was an Old Derry down Derry...
Edward Lear's Nonsense Poetry and Art

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