John Clare The Shepherd's Calendar

ISBN 13: 9780199672226

The Shepherd's Calendar

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John Clare is one of the greatest English Romantic poets, and The Shepherd's Calendar is his masterpiece. It is a classic of English poetry and a fascinating work of social history, recording long-vanished aspects of nineteenth-century rural life.

The poem provides a calendar of the country year, in which the various tasks performed by the farm labourer take their place: ploughing in February, lambing in March, and hay-making in June. The countryman's year is also punctuated by celebrations and festivals, such as May Day games, sheep-shearing feasts, Harvest Home, and Christmas. Rooted in popular culture, the poem has many vivid descriptions of the flowers, birds, and beasts of the hedgerow and field.

This reissue, first published in 1964 and in a second edition in 1993, is published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of John Clare's death. It includes charming wood engravings by David Gentleman.

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Review:

Handsomely illustrated. (New Statesman)

This is a book to treasure. (Harry Mead, Northern Echo)

About the Author:

John Clare (1793-1864) was an agricultural labourer who rose to fame as the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet with the publication of his first book of poems in 1820. He suffered from mental illness and ended his days in Northampton General Lunatic Asylum. He is now recognized as one of the great English Romantic poets whose writing on rural society has a special power. Eric Robinson, together with his associate editor David Powell, is editor of the mult-volume Oxford English Texts edition of the Collected Poems of John Clare and other selections of Clare's writings, including the Major Works in Oxford World's Classics.

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