Some Limericks has the dubious distinction of being one of the most frequently pirated books of all time. Since its first appearance in 1928 illegal editions have appeared with remarkable regularity. Once considered obscene, it reprints a large number of the most “savory” limericks ever penned, accompanied by illuminating commentaries and a “Geographical Index”. The author’s erudition effortlessly traverses topics as diverse as the mudflats of Leigh-on-Sea, the dahlias of Central America, and the habitat of the Silensian tapeworm.
Unsurprisingly, Norman Douglas led a somewhat picturesque existence… Born in 1868, of minor Scottish and German aristocracy, his career in the English Diplomatic Corps was cut short by the first of many sexual scandals — this one in St. Petersburg — as a result of which he was financially encouraged by his family not to set foot too frequently in England. He lived in Capri, which he immortalised in his most famous novel South Wind. Here he was visited by his many literary friends, who included the likes of Graham Greene and Elizabeth David, with whom he shared his love of Italian gastronomy. His last words are reputed to have been: “Get those f...ing nuns away from me."