John Clare was an English poet who lived mostly in rural Northamptonshire from 1793 to 1864 . He wrote many poems, essays and letters about love, politics, sex, corruption, environmental and social change, poverty and folk life . The poet, John Clare, interested me more then the other poets from the Romantic period because of his colourful background. In 1837, he had a mental breakdown and was admitted to an asylum in Epping Forest. Four years later, he discharged himself and walked the 80 miles home in three and a half days, living on grass he ate by the side of the road. Later that year (1841), he was certified insane and was committed to the Northampton Asylum. He lived there until his death in 1864 writing occasionally. The two poems from the title were written two years apart while Clare was at the asylum . They reflect the poets own thoughts and feelings as he is heard as the narrator making the poems biographical, almost as if they were a page from a diary. They have both only recently (with some of his other poems written when at the asylum), been published from manuscripts and the full contents of his work recognised. When first read, it appears that they almost share an identical theme of loneliness and despair, but after a second and third reading, there is some remarkable dissimilarity. Both "A Vision" and "I am" are very personal, intimate poems, both displaying the inner workings and substance of Clare's supposedly deranged mind. While "A Vision" is a definitive statement about Clare's asylum life, "I Am" is a deeper exploration into the chaos of sanatorium life. The rejection of the world in "A Vision" is from a more mature voice that could possibly dispense the rationality of a world-weary writer. How...
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... mental breakdown and in today's society, counselling is now the preferred option.
Wu, D. (2003). Romanticism, an anthology, Blackwell publishing
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http://slate.msn.com/id/2089950/ (accessed on 16.10.04)
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