John Clare

John Clare

A Biography

Book - 2003
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The long-awaited literary biography of the supreme "poets' poet" John Clare (1793-1864) is the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self, but until now he has never been the subject of a comprehensive literary biography. Here at last is his full story told by the light of his voluminous work: his birth in poverty, his work as an agricultural labourer, his burgeoning promise as a writer--cultivated under the gaze of rival patrons--then his moment of fame in the company of John Keats and the toast of literary London, and finally his decline into mental illness and his last years confined in asylums. Clare's ringing voice--quick-witted, passionate, vulnerable, courageous--emerges in generous quotation from his letters, journals, autobiographical writings, and his poems, as Jonathan Bate, the celebrated scholar of Shakespeare, brings the complex man, his beloved work, and his ribald world vividly to life. Jonathan Bateis the author ofThe Genius of ShakespeareandThe Song of the Earth. He is Leverhulme Research Professor of English Literature at the University of Warick. ABooklistEditors' Choice   John Clare (1793-1864) is the greatest working-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self, but until now he has never seen the subject of a comprehensive literary biography.   Here, at last, is his story, revealed by the light of his voluminous work: his birth in poverty, his work as an agricultural laborer, his burgeoning promise as a writer cultivated under the gaze of rival patrons, his moment of fame in the company of John Keats as the toast of literary London, and finally his decline into mental illness and confinement in asylums. Clare's ringing voice--quick-witted, passionate, vulnerable, courageous--emerges through generous quotation from his letters, journals, autobiographical writings, and poems, as Jonathan Bate, the celebrated scholar of Shakespeare, brings the complex man, his beloved work, and his ribald world vividly to life. "[An] engrossing volume . . . Bate makes Clare's life as fascinating for us today as it was for Victorians, and his scholarship corrects the mistakes of earlier biographers without clogging the narrative. By surveying a broad selection of his subject's work, he sustains his contention that Clare ought to be considered a major poet. His unaffected diction, blessedly unencumbered by the ornate conventions of his time, sounds contemporary . . . In this groundbreaking biography and the judicious selection of poems [made by Bate] in'I Am', John Clare's voice carries across the centuries and speaks to us as freshly as the unspoiled nature he loved."--Phoebe Pettingell,The New Leader   "Splendid . . . It is Clare's love of his native countryside that comes through most powerfully in this volume . . . Thanks to Mr. Bate's biography, Clare will no longer be remembered as a mere madman or prodigy, but will be granted his rightful place in the canon as England's pre-eminent poet of nature."--Amanda Kolson Hurley,The Washington Times   "Perceptive."--Adam Kirsch,Bookforum   "Bate's thorough and lively [study] provides a more nuanced view both of Clare's psychological complexity as a person and of the possibilities for artistic and intellectual development available in the milieu of Clare's upbringing than has hitherto been available."--Eric Gudas,The Bloomsbury Review   "One of the challenges for [Clare's] biographer is t
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2003
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374179908
0374179905
Branch Call Number: B C541B 2003
Characteristics: xix, 648 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

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