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R.S. Attack worked as a legal secretary. Concerned about social injustice and unconvinced by the solutions of Left and Right, she enrolled for a degree in Economic History at Sussex University. There she was able to do the research which underpins this book. As a poet herself, she found in John Clare a kindred spirit with a poet’s perception of the beauty of nature and a clear vision of the injustice wrought by the enclosure movement.


“John Clare is generally recognised as a fine lyrical poet, who wrote idealistically about the English countryside, whilst contriving to overcome his extreme poverty and the unstable circumstance of the times. This short but powerful book reveals how inadequate such a view is of a man whose most abiding passion was for economic justice, rather than for literary success. He had indeed a gift for the lyrical, inspired by the beauty of his native land in Northamptonshire; yet even such poetry he described as kicked out of the clods’. Freedom was indeed his life’s message to the world, but it was the freedom to live and work on land not subject to a master and landlord. His was the great lost cause of free land. And yet, even today, the cause is not finally lost. Clare’s poetry, with the aid of such books as Rosemary Attack’s, may reveal to a new generation, the need to return the land to its true heirs, the people of England.”
Land & Liberty