This text gathers together all of John Clare's autobiographical writing. The book extends, corrects and replaces the "Autobiographical Writings of John Clare", edited by Eric Robinson (Oxford, 1983). Clare's "Journal" is set beside "Sketches" and "Autobiographical Fragments", as well as his "Journey Out of Essex". Extracts from his asylum letters are included, his will, and two maps of Clare's countryside and his "Journey".
John Clare (1793-1864): Born the son of a thresher at Helpston, Northamptonshire, John Clare is a rural poet and story teller. He is a poet of spiritual originality, as compelling at his best as Crabbe and Wordsworth as a story teller in verse. He was an assiduous practitioner of the sonnet form at all periods of his poetic career. The sonnets he produced in the last few years before his institutionalisation in 1837, first at High Beech and then in Northampton General Asylum, are of particular interest, since he exploited the inherent brevity of the form to express a simultaneous precision of observation and starkness of vision that he rarely achieved either before or after.
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