John Clare: The Critical Heritage

By Mark Storey | Go to book overview

THE PERIOD PRIOR TO PUBLICATION OF THE VILLAGE MINSTREL: INCIDENTAL COMMENTS

March 1820-August 1821

36.

Some opinions on ‘Solitude’

1820

(a) Taylor to Clare, 16 March 1820, Eg. 2245, fol. 62:

I received the Poem safe, and like it very much, but from an apprehension that it contains rather too much minute Description I feel desirous of cutting out a Couplet here & there. —The Difficulty is the greater in parting with them, as they are generally excellent in their way…. [Talks of Keats] When I read Solitude to him he observed that the Description too much prevailed over the Sentiment. —But never mind that—it is a good fault….

(b) Clare to Taylor, 19 March 1820, LJC, p. 37:

You Talk of cutting me about in ‘Solitude’ I can only say have mercy I have provd your judgement & patiently submit—my lodge house I think will be above your thumbs & Keats’ too it as undergone the Critiscism of my father & mother & several rustic Neighbours of the Town and all aprove it you will agree they beat your polite Critics in that low nature which you never prove but by reading & which them & I have daily witnessed in its most subtle branches….

(c) Eliza Emmerson to Taylor, 25 April 1820, NMS. 44. ‘The Lodge House’ was one of Clare’s many narrative poems that were not published.

-120-

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