John Clare Society Journal

Articles

No. 32, July

Editorial
David Powell died in 2012. His editing and pioneering scholarship secured the foundations of textual knowledge in Clare studies for all who follow. As editor of many ground-breaking Clare editions, as a founding member of the Society, and as editor of...
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John Clare, William Hilton, and the National Portrait Gallery
In a letter of 2 April 1820, John Clare teasingly complained about a new acquaintance, the painter William Hilton. '[T]ell him', wrote Clare to his correspondent, James Hessey, that ? don't know what he[']s about with my pictures'.1 What Hilton was 'about',...
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Interview with David Morley: The Gypsy and the Poet
The poems threaded through the interview below are taken from David Motley's The Gypsy and the Poet (Carcanet, 2013).Simon Kövesi: Could you tell me about the context for your conceiving of this new collection of poems, The Gypsy and the Poet?David Morley:...
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Re-Reading James Currie: Robert Burns's First Editor
Those few who have looked deeply into the matter have concluded that Robert Burns was quite fortunate in having James Currie for his first editor. Robert Thornton, in particular, has documented the pressures surrounding Currie as other individuals, notably...
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At the Yeoman's House/At Helpston: Meetings with John Clare/John Glare: A Poet for All Seasons
At the Yeoman's House. By RONALD BLYTHE. London, Enitharmon Press. 2012. 127 pp. £15.At Helpston: Meetings with John Clare. By RONALD BLYTHE. Norfolk, Black Dog Books. 2011. 168 pp. £18.99.John Clare: A Poet for all Seasons. By PETER MOYSE. Ely, Melrose...
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William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship: The Roots of Environmentalism in Nineteenth-Century Culture
William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship: The Roots of Environmentalism in Nineteenth-Century Culture. By SCOTT HESS. Charlottesville and London, University of Virginia Press. 2012. 288 pp. £24.50.Scott Hess's professed project is to show how...
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John Keats: A New Life
John Keats: ANewLife. By NICHOLAS ROE. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. 2012. 384 pp. £25.Milton met Galileo, D. H. Lawrence met Virginia Woolf, Brecht met Auden. Others we feel should have met, came achingly close, but never did, and this...
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John Glare and Community
John Clare and Community. By JOHN GOODRIDGE. Cambridge University Press. 2013. xiv + 252 pp. £55.This is a study of Clare's relations with two communities: the community of poets who inspired him (in Part I), and the native village that he recorded in...
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No. 31, July

Editorial
This year the journal looks back at its own first thirty years, in a survey essay from scholar Greg Crossan. Greg's profile in the 'Contributors' section of this issue reveals the reason I am in awe of his meticulous contribution to this issue. Greg...
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Thirty Years of the John Clare Society Journal: A Retrospective Survey
Thirty years of a journal's journey is a significant milestone at which to pause and take stock of what has been achieved. It is not my intention on this celebratory occasion to correct errors or contest opinions, but rather to give an overview of the...
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Sketches and Fragments: John Clare's Tentative Lives
Early in his poetic career John Clare began playing with selfrepresentation. He is the Northamptonshire Peasant, the Village Minstrel, Lubin, John, and (to Charles Lamb) 'Clarissimus'.1 In the year following his first attempt at autobiography, he authored...
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Sentimental Ecology, John Clare, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Trees: A Note
Jude Nixon recently published an essay called 'Fathering Graces at Hampstead: Manley Hopkins' "The Old Trees" and Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Binsey Poplars'".1 In it he described a poem written by Manley Hopkins, Gerard Manley Hopkins's father, on the proposed...
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Form and Feeling in John Clare's Sonnets
Clare liked to press his publishers with ideas for new projects. In 1 824 he wrote to John Taylor excited by the capacity of the sonnet to respond to the abundance and variety he enjoyed in nature: 1 have made it up in my mind to write one hundred sonnets...
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A Saunter through the Provinces, Encountering a Few Poets on the Way: The Sociable John Clare
John Clare was a sociable man, one of those lucky people whose joie de vivre rubs off on others, and makes them eagerly soughtafter as company. Witness for example, the plea from the artist Edward Rippingille, inviting Clare to Bristol in 1824:I dined...
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'Mouses Nest'-Again: A Note
I read with great interest Ben Hickman's essay on 'John Clare and the End of Description' in last year's issue of this journal (JCSJ, 30 [201 1], 5-21) and found myself in agreement with or persuaded by much of it. Not, however, with what he has to say...
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A Response to John Lucas's Note
In response to my essay 'John Clare and the End of Description' in last year's John Clare Society Journal, John Lucas takes issue with my reading of 'Mouses Nest', and especially its closing couplet, 'The water oer the pebbles scarce could run / &...
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No. 30, July

Editorial
This thirtieth issue is further testament to the fact that Clare now has a properly global reach. Clare is read in classrooms the world over, and for diverse reasons. This issue flits from Marielle Risse's classroom in Oman, to Jason Goldsmith's in the...
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John Clare and the End of Description
The central claim of this essay, that John Clare wrote stories, is simple: Clare's poetry, I will argue, though essentially descriptive, presents the world he encounters in a way that is first and foremost in the medium of narrative. The subsidiary argument...
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John Clare Looks Good in a Dishdash: Linking Clare to Middle Eastern Poetry
I came to an appreciation for John Clare through a circuitous route. In the United States I earned a PhD in English literature with a focus on travel writing, so my attention was drawn to how people interact with and describe cultures new to them. I...
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John Clare and the Art of Politics
I.Imagine, if you will, that you are a young student enrolled in a private university in the United States of America. Yours was an essentially conservative, middle-class upbringing. You are earnest and intellectually ambitious to a degree. Good grades...
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Concerns and Perceptions of Monarchy: John Clare's the Raree Show'
John Clare's literary life spanned the reigns of four monarchs: King George ??, his two sons George IV and William IV and their niece, Queen Victoria. His allegiance to the concept of monarchy was unequivocal: he wrote that 'common sense will teach you...
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Preparing to Fly
Works Inspired by and Dedicated to John Clare'The Nightingales Nest' and 'The Valley' RevisitedWas it Radio 3 or 4, I don't recall... It was over 15 years ago, but other memories are fixed and still endure. I remember work by Ivor Gurney was listed to...
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A Checklist of Critical Publications on John Clare, 2001-2010
This list of about 330 main items supplements my earlier checklist covering 1970-2000, partly published in this journal in volumes 18 (1999) and 19 (2000), and more fully in the essay collection John Clare: New Approaches (2001) and on the John Clare...
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Aftermath: Selected Writings 1960-2010
Aftermath: Selected Writings I960-2010. By RONALD BLYTHE. Ed. by Peter Tolhurst with a foreword by Richard Mabey. Norwich: Black Dog Books. 2010. 487 pp. £18.99.The aftermath', said Andrew Marvell, 'seldom or never equals the first herbage'; and those...
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The Ballad of John Clare
The Ballad of fohn Clare. By HUGH LUPTON. Sawtry, Cambs.: Dedalus. 2010. 280 pp. £9.99.Out of a background of writing myths, legends and folk-tales, comes Hugh Lupton's first novel, The Ballad of John Clare, a tale of Clare's coming of age set amidst...
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Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think about Nature
Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think About Nature. By RICHARD MABEY. London: Profile. 2010. xi + 324 pp., 13 full-page illustrations. £15.99.The 'vegetable guerrillas' growing in the city wilderness outside...
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No. 29, July

Editorial
Members of the Society will be familiar with Carry Akroyd's art and designs, which have graced the cover of the newsletter for many years, and which have enhanced the covers and pages of books such as Tim Chilcott's edition of The Shepherd's Calendar...
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John Clare and the Paper Chase
President's Address to the John Clare Society, 12 July 2008John Clare Primary School, HelpstonIt might well have all begun with paper. Lots of fine new paper on which to write. A whole bookful of it. A leather-bound book waiting for words. His publishers...
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Dessert
The gooseberry bush hung down the wallby the slow Fifties7 summer sun;the rundown cottage. After warsItalian farmworkers had come.A widow, child-high, in black clotheslodged there. Did she see them fall,the gooseberries7 pale globes of gold?I reached...
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'To List the Song & Not to Start the Thrush': John Clare's Acoustic Ecologies
One of the particular pleasures of John Clare's Journal, which he kept for just over a year from September 1824, is the sheer number of sounds it records. From the hunting dogs 'rustling in the crackling stubbs7 to the 'little dickering Songs7 of the...
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Ruins, Radicals and Reactionaries: John Clare's Enclosure Elegies
The debate over John Clare's allegiances on issues of social and political reform has been keenly contested in recent years. Johanne Clare argued that even in 'the enclosure elegies [...] it would be difficult if not impossible to claim that Clare intended...
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John Clare and the Place of Poetry
John Clare and the Place of Poetry. By MINA GORJI. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. 2009. xi + 177 pp. £65.Publishers' blurbs are not often noted for their reticence or under-statement; but even allowing for this, few books on Clare can have appeared...
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'The Clare That You Can See around You Today': An Interview with Carry Akroyd
John Goodridge: At Shandy Hall you talked about Clare's way of thinking, and the kinship that you might have with that. What is Clare's way of thinking, for you?Carry Akroyd: Partly it's the value of things isn't it... that seeing, where he talks about...
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'No John Clare': Minute Observations from the Ulster Cottage Door 1790-1800
BENEATH the northern brow of verdant LyIe,Where fertile fields with green abundance wave,Apart from clam'rous cities many a mile,Appears a rural cot, clep't Crambo Cave.Here Nature simply, in contempt of Art,A rustic Poet to the world gave,Who, wild...
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Women Peasant Poets in Eighteenth-Century England, Scotland, and Germany: Milkmaids on Parnassus
Women Peasant Poets in EighteenthCentury England, Scotland, and Germany: Milkmaids on Parnassus. By SUSANNE KORD. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Camden House, 2003. xiii + 325 pp. £40.The last paragraph of the body of this book (there follow useful short bio/...
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'Natures Powers and Spells': Landscape Change, John Clare and Me
'natures powers and spells': Landscape Change, John Clare and Me. By CARRY AKROYD. Peterborough: Langford Press. 2009. 167 pp. £38.Carry Akroyd's striking illustrations for two books of John Clare's poetry, The Shepherd's Calendar and The Wood is Sweet,...
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John Clare's Religion
John Clare's Religion. By SARAH HOUGHTON-WALKER. Farnham, Surrey; Burlington, VT: Ashgate. 2009. x + 254 pp. £55.'I do not know that I ever thought Mr Clare a particularly religious man: although [...] there may have been a line or two of his poems which...
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Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature
Redbreast: The Robin in Life and Literature. By ANDREW LACK. Arundel, West Sussex: SMH Books. 2008. x + 294 pp. £19.95.Even the most cursory glance at the Christmas cards around my house as I write this serves to reinforce the theme of Andrew Lack's...
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No. 28, July

Editorial
From the epic poem 'The Bounty' by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, to the English secondary school national curriculum; from the 'I hate John Clare' group on social networking website Facebook, to the opening pages of Christopher Hitchens' controversial...
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'The Prospect Far and Wide': An Eighteenth-Century Drawing of Langley Bush and Helpston's Unenclosed Countryside
It has often been noted how visual John Clare's poems are. The twentieth-century critic John Middleton Murry, for instance, stated that 'Clare's faculty of vision is unique in English poetry'.1 The poet Edmund Gosse complained that Clare 'was a camera,...
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The Sun Looks Pale upon the Wall AD 1841
Novr 17 Wednesday - Awoke in mine and Pattys house at Northborough felt very fearful yet cannot say why or what about - I call it house for it is not a home to me & cant be called one - in the morning wrote a letter off to Mr Reid in Alloa &...
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John Clare: 'The Man of Taste'
Most critical work has tended to understand the relationship of Clare's poetry to the picturesque as antagonistic: John Lucas argues that Clare is 'anti-picturesque', while Scott Hess has more recently attempted to show how Clare 'contests', 'contrasts',...
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John Clare's Sonnets and the Northborough Fens
It is a common critical perception that following John Clare's flit to the village of Northborough in the spring of 1832 he responded to the countryside in a new way. The argument that his sense of identity and belonging was unsettled by the move and...
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Clare's Gypsies and Literary Influence
In an article on Clare and the gypsies which appeared in this journal in 1994, Claire Lamont usefully delineates Clare's autobiographical records of his acquaintance with and knowledge of this 'sooty crew'.1 She describes his attraction to their conviviality...
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An Unpublished Letter and Poems by John Clare
In the Special Collections of Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is an autograph unpublished letter1 by John Clare to his publisher, James Hessey, that includes three poems - the first, 'To XXXXX' i'Fair was thy bloom when first I met', Middle...
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Land, Nation and Culture, 1740-1840: Thinking the Republic of Taste
Land, Nation and Culture, 1740-1840: Thinking the Republic of Taste. Ed. by PETER DE BOLLA, NIGEL LEASK and DAVID SIMPSON. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2005. 246 pp. £49.John Barrell bestrode a furrow in a ploughed field, and eighteenth- century...
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The Poet as Botanist
The Poet as Botanist. By M. M. MAHOOD. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2008. x + 269 pp. £50.M. M. Mahood, Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Kent, completed an Open University degree course in biology in retirement....
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British Labouring-Class Nature Poetry, 1730-1837
British Labouring-Class Nature Poetry, 1730-1837. By BRIDGET KEEGAN. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2008. xii + 220 pp. £50.Readers of this journal have good cause to be grateful to Bridget Keegan. It is ultimately thanks to her instigation of the...
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Robert Bloomfield, Romanticism and the Poetry of Community/The Romantics and the May Day Tradition
Robert Bloomfield, Romanticism and the Poetry of Community. By SIMON J. WHITE. Aldershot: Ashgate. 2007. ix + 165 pp. £50.The Romantics and the May Day Tradition. By ESSAKA JOSHUA. Aldershot: Ashgate. 2007. ix + 149 pp. £45.'Inclosing Acts! I do not...
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Vol. 26, July

Bewick and Clare: Two Rooted Men
In the 1820s two men at different ends of the country and at different ends of their careers set about writing their memoirs. Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), whose likeness we can see in Ramsay's portrait or Baily's bust, was in his late sixties, a large...
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Editorial
Folk singers tend to sing rather than write, so I am grateful to Professor Nick Groom (who can do both) for opening fresh discussion on the important subject of Clare and folksong, in the first of this year's two review essays. Before that we have two...
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Landscape Icons and the Community: A Reading of John Clare's 'Langley Bush'
On Wednesday 29 September 1824 Clare took a walk in the fields. During his ramble he 'saw an old woodstile taken away from a favourite spot which it had occupied all [his] life'.1 This observation caused him to reflect that 'nothing is lasting in this...
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'Infants Graves Are Steps of Angels': Childhood Mortality as a Recurrent Theme in Clare's Poetry
Whether through the curiosity of a prying muse seeking to retrieve hidden memories or even in direct response to a specific experience or occasion, inquiry into the bygone origins of a poet's inspirational fervour rarely extends beyond conjecture.1 John...
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Beyond the Language Wars: Towards a Green Edition of John Clare
Get Taylor to Copy it out for me if he pleases with his remarks as soon as leisure permits him as I have no Copy by me his opinion will soon set me at rights I wish I had him near me & I shoud do- (Clare, 1822)I am obliged to trust to the judgment...
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In the Field
In the FieldNick GroomGeorge Deacon, Dream Not of Love: 17 Songs from John Clare (GCD001, 2002); Gordon Tyrrall, A Distance from the Town; A Musical Appreciation of the Work of the Poet John Clare (Fellside Recordings FECD129, 1998); Vikki Clayton, Midsummer...
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Labouring Class Poets
Labouring Class PoetsDonna LandryNineteenth-Century English Labouring-Class Poets, 1800-1900. Ed by JOHN GOODRIDGE (gen. ed.), SCOTT MCEATHRON, KAYE KOSSICK, and JOHN GOODRIDGE (vol. eds.j, three volumes. London: Picketing & Chatto. 2006. xxx + 388;...
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John Clare: The Shepherd's Calendar
John Clare: The Shepherd's Calendar. Ed. by TIM CHILCOTT. Manchester: Carcanet. 2006. xxxii + 234 pp. £14.95.Tim Chilcott's splendid new edition of The Shepherd's Calendar builds productively on his previous contributions to Clare studies: combining...
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Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick
Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick. By JENNY UGLOW. London: Faber and Faber. 2006. 460pp. £20.00.If it seems at first a little irrelevant to review a biography of the country's foremost wood-engraver / naturalist in the pages of the John Clare...
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Poems
John Clare, Poems. Ed by PAUL PARLEY. London: Faber. 2007. £4.The 'people's poet' is also par excellence the 'poet's poet'. I vividly remember how, in 1993, having sent out letters to the good and great inviting 'bicentenary thoughts' on Clare for this...
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Robert Bloomfield: Lyric, Class and the Romantic Canon
Robert Bloomfield: Lyric, Class and the Romantic Canon. Ed. by SIMON WHITE, JOHN GOODRIDGE and BRIDGET KEEGAN. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press. 2006. £45.When Lyrical Ballads, by Wordsworth and Coleridge, first came out around 1800, initial...
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Romantic Natural Histories: William Wordsworth, Charles Darwin, and Others
Romantic Natural Histories: William Wordsworth, Charles Darwin, and Others. Ed. by ASHTON NICHOLS. Boston: Houghton Mifflin-Riverside. 2003. 466 pp. £8.95 (UK softback edition).This collection of letters, essay and fiction excerpts, and poems offers...
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The Romantics and the British Landscape
The Romantics and the British Landscape. By STEPHEN HEBRON. London: The British Library. 2006. ix + 180pp. £25.The Romantics and the British Landscape is a handsome, readable, and judicious account of the romantic love affair with landscape. Scholarly...
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Black over Red
Black over Red. By LOTTE KRAMER. Ware, Herts.: The Rockingham Press. 2005. pp. 64. £7.95.'Where shall we walk to when the dust obscures / Hearing and sight ...?' So begins 'Where', one of the many fine sonnets in Lotte Kramer's close-packed tenth collection....
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Vol. 25, July

Editorial
Our 25th Journal is celebrated in the silver colour on this year's cover, and in Ronald Blythe's comments opposite. Our silver jubilee certainly marks a time for looking back with some pride in what has been achieved; but it is also a good moment to...
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Our Silver Jubilee
I may be biased, of course, but I doubt if there is a literary society in this country which can look back on an achievement comparable to that of the John Clare Society. There has been such a constant growth and revelation, such enthralling scholarship,...
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'Bounds of Place and Time': The Future of Clare's Past
As this journal goes to press we are awaiting a decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund on a £1.3 million bid for funding towards the purchase of John Clare's cottage and the creation there of a dynamic cultural, educational and environmental centre...
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Melodies in the Marketplace: John Clare's 100 Songs
In the period following the 1820 publication of Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery, John Clare embarked on perhaps his most ambitious writing project to date, producing nearly a hundred songs in a matter of months. Although a number of these...
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Patty's Book: A New Play for Radio
In the summer of 1841, the poet John Clare walked out of High Beech Asylum in Essex, and carried on walking northwards till he reached home, some 90 miles away, near Peterborough.By Christmas, he was back inside again-this time for ever. His long-suffering...
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'Waterflyes with Tiny Wings': Marking Nature in John Clare's Poems
In an 1830 letter to his ardent supporter and admirer, Eliza Louisa Emmerson (1782-1854), John Clare personifies the pronoun 'I':This description parallels a number of intriguing elements in Clare's poetry. First, the lack of standard punctuation in...
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The Dating of Clare's the Shepherd's Calendar
Few aspects of the relationship between Clare and his publishers, Taylor & Hessey, have generated more debate than the question of the claimed 'delays' in publishing his third volume, The Shepherd's Calendar, with Village Stories and other poems,...
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John Clare and the Gypsies
Sometimes I watch a film or read a book, come-to and tell myself, 'But I was there! I heard it, I saw it.' It is a not uncommon experience. It occurs when I read John Clare on the gypsies. He both hobnobbed with them and was fastidious where they were...
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First Publications of John Clare's Poems
First Publications of John Clare's Poems. By DAVID POWELL. [Baltimore, MD]: The John Clare Society of North America. (Research Papers on John Clare, 1.) 2004. xvi + 88 pp. $12.Has ever a poet been so drip-fed to the reading public as John Clare? This...
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Poems by John Clare
Poems By John Clare. By ROBERT PROTHEROUGH. Sheffield: National Association for the Teaching of English (Classic Reading Series). 2005. 60 pp. £9.50 (NATE members: £7.50).Robert Protherough's study guide, Poems By John Clare, is part of the Classic Reading...
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Edge of the Orison
Edge of the Orison. By IAIN SINCLAIR. London: Hamish Hamilton. 2005. 385 pp. £16.99.I have a vague memory of a description (by Neville Cardus?) of the bowling of W. J. Edrich (Middlesex and England) that went something like: 'He bowls like a rushing...
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