Very rarely do I post anything to this weblog apart from Poems and Prose of John Clare, but I recently came across 'Wintersmoon' and thought Clareans worldwide would like to be introduced to the book.  Here is the excerpt that jumped out of the book for me...

"But his great discovery was the accidental finding in the library at Wintersmoon a volume of John Clare.  At that time in 1919 Clare was a forgotten poet.  In the following years, thanks to the generous enthusiasm of Edmund Blunden, he was rediscovered and beautifully reissued, but to Wildherne that chance finding of a third edition of the Poems descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery seemed a miracle.  He devoured the book, discovered then that no one had ever heard of Clare, and further that no one found the poems anything but trivial and commonplace.  Even his father failed him here.

No matter.  He would keep that to himself, as it seemed to him he must keep almost everything that was of importance.  Hunting discovered for him the two volumes of The Village Minstrel, and this was of especial value to him because the first volume contained a steel engraving of Hilton's painting of Clare.  That strange, beautiful, pathetic face became now part of Wildherne's life.  It seemed to him that he had somewhere known him and been his friend.  He knew nothing as yet about his history, but he saw the tragedy in those eager gazing eyes and that gentle mouth.  To that man at least he could have bared his soul.

His love of England, of his father, of his home, of such poetry as Clare's, of the long naked shoulder of the Plain, of the weedy rubble under foot in country lanes, of sudden streams, of riding, of early mornings seen from the windows of Wintersmoon - all these (save possibly his love for his father) had been affections, not passions."

Hugh Walpole
Wintersmoon (1928)

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