Wood, Andy (2013) 'Deference, paternalism and popular memory in early modern England.', in Remaking English society : social relations and social change in early modern England. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, pp. 233-253. Studies in early modern cultural, political and social history. (14).
The poetry of John Clare, the most articulate voice of the rural working class of early nineteenth-century England, can be read as a meditation upon the relationship between memory and social relations. Clare drew upon the local traditions with which he had been brought up, setting them as golden memories against the harshness of the social conditions of the time at which he was writing.¹ Within Clare’s vision of agrarian history, parliamentary enclosure had fractured a distinct set of social relations, one characterised by paternalism, decency and kindness. In The Shepherd’s Calendar, Clare conjures up a lost world of social...
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