Clare’s Late Styles

  • Andrew HodgsonEmail author


Readers have tended to think of Clare’s asylum verse as divided into two groupings: on the one hand a morass of throwaway songs which barely elevate themselves above doggerel; on the other a cluster of visionary lyrics which represents the last flaring of a high Romantic mode. This essay shows Clare’s achievement in his asylum years to have been more diverse than this dichotomy allows. It attends to the vision and artistry of a series of underappreciated later lyrics to show Clare as a poet eloquent about love, nature, loss, and time deep into his career. The later Clare was a ‘lost’ poet in various respects, dislocated from his home, his audience, and his inspiration, and the essay asks how far, as they negotiate the pathos of his situation, Clare’s late poems seek continuities with his earlier work and how far they represent a poet forging new directions, in however forlorn a manner. The essay offers a new understanding of Clare’s late voice, emphasising its underappreciated wit, sadness, sensitivity, and adventurousness.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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