Friday, March 16, 2018


Clare seems to have been an extraordinarily superstitious man, if the evidence in Autobiographical Writings is anything to go by. Credulous to the point of absurdity he's capable of spooking himself so intensely with regard to particular locations and the stories surrounding them as to spend any night hours passed nearby in a state of something like real terror. At first I attributed this to the times in which he lived and his rural background. Now, approaching the end of Eric Robinson's edition of the Writings, I'm not so sure.

Having become familiar with a number of the guises in which our Peasant Poet could present himself, I'm beginning to wonder about the degree of performance of a role in his prose. He writes with wonderful freshness and sincerity of the fear of the unknown, so much so as to remind even the most jaded reader of what it was like to be a child genuinely frightened of the dark and all it implied, but I reckon he puts it on a bit.

I might be mistaken, I might be seeing things, but I wonder if there's another Clare standing behind the ghost self he serves up for his public.

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