John Clare, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery

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John Clare’s first volume of poetry,

Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery

(1820), was the most popular of the four volumes Clare published during his lifetime, going through four editions by 1821 and selling more than 3,500 copies by 1829, when Clare’s publishers sent him a series of accounts. According to these same accounts,

The Village Minstrel

(1821) had sold 1,250 copies and

The Shepherd’s Calendar

(1827) had sold only 425 copies.

Poems Descriptive contains around seventy poems, organised under three headings – poems, songs and ballads, and sonnets. As the title suggests, the poems generally describe rural life but they do so from the perspective of the rural labourer; as such, they may be seen as part of a genre of anti-pastoral verse in Britain that attempted to

2405 words

Citation: Smith, Andrew. "Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 October 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2681, accessed 05 March 2024.]

2681 Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery 3 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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