James Carkesse: Lucida Intervalla

(600 words)

The figure of James Carkesse is still partially unknown; mentioned in Pepys’ diaries, it seems he was a Navy Office clerk who was prosecuted for corruption in 1667. At first apparently well integrated in social circles, Carkesse was isolated when he developed the belief that he was in charge of a ‘sacred mission’ and started spreading his creed. His religious enthusiasm was probably the main reason for his confinement in the Finsbury madhouse in 1678 and, later, in Bethlem (or Bedlam), under the supervision of doctor Allen.

While in Finsbury and Bethlem, Carkesse wrote 53 poems concerning his folly and reclusion, which were published in 1679 under the title Lucida Intervalla. Most texts are addressed to …

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Natali, Ilaria. "Lucida Intervalla". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 February 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=28520, accessed 28 September 2016.]