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New Essays on John Clare
Poetry, Culture and Community

$27.99 (C)

Simon Kövesi, Scott McEathron, Fiona Stafford, Adam Rounce, Sarah M. Zimmerman, John Burnside, Emma Mason, Robert Heyes, Sam Ward, Richard Cronin
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  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108439091

$ 27.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • John Clare (1793–1864) has long been recognized as one of England's foremost poets of nature, landscape and rural life. Scholars and general readers alike regard his tremendous creative output as a testament to a probing and powerful intellect. Clare was that rare amalgam ‒ a poet who wrote from a working-class, impoverished background, who was steeped in folk and ballad culture, and who yet, against all social expectations and prejudices, read and wrote himself into a grand literary tradition. All the while he maintained a determined sense of his own commitments to the poor, to natural history and to the local. Through the diverse approaches of ten scholars, this collection shows how Clare's many angles of critical vision illuminate current understandings of environmental ethics, aesthetics, Romantic and Victorian literary history, and the nature of work.

    • Ranges across thematic, theoretical and historical issues relating to John Clare, a poet only now being recognized for his commitment to community and the environment
    • Provides access to complex and diverse ideas and approaches, introduced by a revisionist account of the reception history of Clare since his first publication
    • Includes an environmental polemic from one of Scotland's leading creative writers and poets – Professor John Burnside
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This fine collection of essays exemplifies, as the editors' note in their introduction, the 'striking variety' of Clare’s writings and the 'interpretive capaciousness' of this fertile moment in Clare scholarship … Ranging widely from Clare’s engagement with eighteenth-century verse to his reception in the years following his death, the contributors shed new light on some of his most characteristic forms and themes and on his complex place in the literary and political cultures of his day … ground-breaking and important not only for Clare scholarship but also for the study of nineteenth-century literature.' Stephanie Kuduk Weiner, Modern Philology

    'New Essays on John Clare marks a fresh departure in John Clare studies, and it will prove rewarding to Clare specialists and to generalist readers who seek to understand Clare’s place in the broader historical development of literary culture in the Romantic and Victorian periods.' Jim McKusick, The Wordsworth Circle

    'New Essays on John Clare serves as a new landmark collection that articulates the wonderfully diverse avenues for rereading Clare as a full participant in the nineteenth-century intellectual milieu of literature, art, and politics.' Katey Castellano, Romanticism Journal

    'Simon Kövesi’s and Scott McEathron’s collection represents an engaging and timely contribution to Clare studies, one most rewarding for the way it testifies to Clare’s ‘ongoing status as an uncategorizable literary and social misfit’.' Daniel Westwood, The Keats-Shelley Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108439091
    • length: 256 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction Simon Kövesi and Scott McEathron
    Part I. Poetry:
    1. John Clare's colours Fiona Stafford
    2. John Clare, William Cowper and the eighteenth century Adam Rounce
    3. John Clare's conspiracy Sarah M. Zimmerman
    Part II. Culture:
    4. John Clare and the new varieties of enclosure: a polemic John Burnside
    5. Ecology with religion: kinship in John Clare Emma Mason
    6. The lives of Frederick Martin and the first Life of John Clare Scott McEathron
    7. John Clare's deaths: poverty, education, and poetry Simon Kövesi
    Part III. Community:
    8. John Clare's natural history Robert Heyes
    9. 'This is radical slang': John Clare, Admiral Lord John Radstock and the Queen Caroline affair Sam Ward
    10. John Clare and the London Magazine Richard Cronin.

  • Editors

    Simon Kövesi, Oxford Brookes University
    Simon Kövesi is Professor of English Literature at Oxford Brookes University. He edited two prefatory collections of Clare's poetry - Love Poems (1999) and Flower Poems (2001) – and with John Goodridge was co-editor of John Clare: New Approaches (2000). His study of the contemporary Glaswegian writer, James Kelman (2007), was shortlisted for the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award in 2008. He is editor of the John Clare Society Journal and has published essays on Clare, ecology, copyright, editing and Romantic literary culture. His study of Clare, John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History, is forthcoming.

    Scott McEathron, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
    Scott McEathron is Associate Professor of English at Southern Illinois University. He has written extensively on the relationship between labouring-class poetry and canonical Romanticism, and, more recently, has published a series of essays on Romantic-era painters and paintings connected with Lamb, Hazlitt, and Keats. He is the editor of English Labouring-Class Poetry, 1800–1830 (2006) and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles: A Sourcebook (2005). His current projects include work on the nineteenth-century labouring-class elegy and on the treatment of labouring-class poets by the Royal Literary Fund.


    Simon Kövesi, Scott McEathron, Fiona Stafford, Adam Rounce, Sarah M. Zimmerman, John Burnside, Emma Mason, Robert Heyes, Sam Ward, Richard Cronin

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