Academic journal article John Clare Society Journal

Editorial

Academic journal article John Clare Society Journal

Editorial

Article excerpt

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 United States. It moves from Clare responding edgily to the monarchy in Mick Schrey's essay, to Ben Hickman's corrective of the critical truism that close description is the driving force of Clare's work. And to provide the richest possible sense of Clare's increasing reach across the last ten years, we include another instalment of the critical bibliography by John Goodridge.

Readers might have noticed that this year's cover has changed. This new cover celebrates thirty years of the Clare Society and thirty issues of this journal. The art is by Brian Shields and I thank him for sharing his work with us. A context for his art is provided by his essay in this issue, along with some black and white images of his Clare series 'Preparing to Fly' (excitingly still a 'work in progress'). Simple and direct though some of these works of art appear, they yet speak in complex ways to many of Clare's central - and peculiar - characteristics: his awkward other-worldliness,· his capacious sense of, and desire for, natural freedoms,· his over-arching sense of loss and imprisonment in a vulnerably exposed, adult form,· the joyful happy-sadness of his playfully serious communions with nature; and even his physical frailty, morbidity and hypochondria. …

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