John Clare

  • “The Peasant-poet”
  • humble beginnings as a farmer’s child with a passion for literature and writing
  • Muse – Mary Joyce who died but still remained alive in his mind, convinced that she was his wife
  • Focuses on themes of enclosure, which he opposed vehemently
  • “words are poor receipts…”
    • an honest depiction of writing and its ultimate ability
    • Does it diminish the craft of writing? Is it hypocritical? – I think no
  • Fixated on regaining his childhood – connected deteriorating landscape and his passing childhood
  • We romanticize childhood and adulthood when we are looking at the, but the realities are different
  • Clare idealized what he has lost in adulthood – recalls the experience of childhood with great fondness
    • possibly a method of dealing with traumatic experience of passing time
  • Is the quest for freedom unique to Romanticism or is it common to human experience?
    • see these themes throughout art and literature of history – not unique to Romanticism
  • What is his place in the Romantic Canon?
    • increasingly acknowledged as a significant voice of romanticism
    • explores the intimacy between human and nature
    • significant reflections on nature’s impact on his life
    • his experience as a poor, working man likely lends him a much different experience with nature than other poets
      • intimacy could be more earnest than an elite perspective who experiences nature as a beautiful luxury
  • Exploration of childhood
    • Wordsworth’s “shades of the prison house”
      • adulthood brings self-awareness and a level of ego
      • language and education and compartmentalizing of ideas and information
      • stifles creativity and creates distance between us and the reality and natural world
      • structuring life creates imprisonment

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