Itching After Rhyme: A Life of John Clare

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9781898594680: Itching After Rhyme: A Life of John Clare
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Neglected for over a hundred years, the poet John Clare is now winning full scholarly recognition, and his work is included in examination syllabuses. Clare was born into a labouring family in Northamptonshire in 1793. His formal education being almost non-existent, he taught himself through reading, and was 'addicted' to poetry. His Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery was a sensation in London, and it seemed Clare's future was secure. But it was not so. This straightforward and accessible biography tells the tragic story of the poverty, illness and isolation that led to mental breakdown. Clare's own words are used to describe his escape from an asylum and journey home on foot, where he failed to recognise his wife. It tells of his love for all living things, and his understanding of their fate when their environment and way of life are destroyed. This clear, sympathetic account, beautifully illustrated with scenes from his native countryside, will be a treasure to John Clare enthusiasts and an enticement to readers new to his world.

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This concise yet highly informative biography provides the reader with a superb introduction to the life and work of the man. --This England

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