John Clare

Eric Miller (University of British Columbia)
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“Self Identity is one of the finest principles in everybodys life,” John Clare observed, differing from John Keats, a contemporary whom Clare admired and who claimed, contrarily, “the poet has ... no identity”. Identity remained a vexed and central issue for Clare right to the end of his life, as two late famous lyrics testify, both entitled “I Am”. “I am,” declares the first line of one, “yet what I am, none cares or knows”; the second begins, “I feel I am; – I only know I am.” By the time of composing these poems, Clare had been consigned to the confines of an asylum at High Beach. Committed to such an institution (he was later moved to Northborough), Clare supplemented his poetic and personal identity, with what degree of delusion or choice it is sometimes…

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Citation: Miller, Eric. "John Clare". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [, accessed 13 April 2024.]

894 John Clare 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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