Fun Facts Friday: John Clare

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John Clare (13 July, 1934 – 20 May 1864) was an English poet who wrote about the English countryside.

Books by John Clare*

Books by John Clare*

  1. As the son of a farmer, the poet worked in agriculture as a small boy, but attended school until the ripe old age of 12.
  2. Some of young Mr. Clare’s favorite books were Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler.
  3. He started writing poems in an attempt to help his parents pay their rent.
  4. He read his poems to his parents, under the guise of reading the works of another. He threw away what they didn’t like and kept what they thought was good.
  5. Clare married Martha Turner (Patty) in 1820. Patty was in the service of the Marquess of Exeter for £45 a year. An amount Mr. Clare has never earned.
  6. Clare was torn between the literary world in London and the need to take care of his family.
  7. In 1835 Mr. Clare published his last work, The Rural Muse, which got favorable reviews. The money, however, was not enough for him, his wife and their seven children.
  8. As his mental health began to get worst, Mr. Clare admitted himself to Dr. Matthew Allen’s private asylum. This was after he verbally abused the actor playing Shylock in a performance of The Merchant of Venice.
  9. In the asylum, Mr. Clare believed he was a prize fighter with two wives. Later he claimed he was Lord Byron.
  10. Clare’s works kept being published after his death with collected and unpublished editions.

Books by John Clare*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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