Robert MacFarlane's Psychogeography: a beginner's guide is worth taking a look at. It is his review of Iain Sinclair's latest outing Edge of the Orison. Subtitled In the traces of John Clare's "Journey out of Essex", MacFarlane writes:

In 1841, Clare escaped from the High Beach Asylum in Epping Forest and, over a three-and-a-half-day “hallucinatory voyage”, walked the 120 miles north-west to his home county of Northamptonshire. Shortly after arrival, he was recommitted to a local asylum, where he remained until his death in 1864. Sinclair follows Clare’s route (the pun of “syn-Clare” is implicit throughout this pun-riddled book) and uses the counterpoint of the earlier journey to meditate on, among other things, the politics of land use, doppelgängers, genealogy and the future of the English countryside. In Sinclair’s visionary account, Clare’s tilt into madness – induced by the landscape changes which the Enclosure Acts wrought – becomes a parable for the fall of rural England, and the psychic maladies suffered throughout contemporary Britain.

See also the John Clare blog and John Clare by Himself (which brings together all of John Clare's autobiographical writing).

Readers Comments

Leave a Comment

If you have not posted a comment on RSB before, it will need to be approved by the Managing Editor. Once you have an approved comment, you are safe to post further comments. We have also introduced a captcha code to prevent spam.




Enter the code shown here:   [captcha]

Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above image, reload the page to generate a new one.