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Presents two major versions of one of the most celebrated poems. This work also provides an introduction that charts the development of the poem, and that explores the strengths of both versions, as well as their limitations. It is supported by a series of linocuts.
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.