After years of indifference and neglect, John Clare (1793-1864) is now recognized as one of the greatest English Romantic poets. Clare was an impoverished agricultural laborer, whose genius was generally not appreciated by his contemporaries, and his later mental instability further contributed to his loss of critical esteem. But the extraordinary range of his poetical gifts has restored him to the company of contemporaries like Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
This authoritative edition brings together a generous selection of Clare's poetry and prose, including autobiographical writings and letters and illustrates all aspects of his talent. It contains poems from all stages of his career, including love poetry and bird and nature poems. Written in his native Northamptonshire, Clare's work provides a fascinating reflection of rural society, often underscored by his own sense of isolation and despair. Clare's writings are presented with the minimum of editorial interference, and with a new introduction by the poet and scholar Tom Paulin.
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