Introduction


To encounter an original manuscript written by John Clare is a truly magical experience; to then realise that the order of what is being read is truly beyond anything that has been seen in previous publications is exciting to say the least.

The series of books that we intend to publish will, we hope, add to and enhance knowledge of Clare's poetry, perhaps in unforeseen and unexpected ways.  The particular focus of the books we intend to publish, in limited handmade editions, is that of overt sensuality in Clare's poetry, revealed through both his knowledge and understanding of other poets, such as Ovid, and through his own undoubted experience of love and sex and the women in his life.

The books are intended to reveal this aspect of his work through the presentation of his poems, as far as possible exactly as he wrote them, yet understood and illustrated though the contemporary eyes of a Clare scholar and an artist/photographer who collaborate to share their expertise and love of Clare's work in order to bring these sensual works of poetry to a wider audience.

To produce a handmade book is a holistic experience. It encompasses all aspects of production, from the initial hours of study and transcription of Clare's original manuscripts, hitherto unseen other than by a handful of Clare scholars and often never before published, to the final stages of painstakingly stitching and binding the pages to make a volume that is limited to a few copies, to be loved and owned by discerning lovers of Clare's poetry.

In all aspects of production a handmade book is conceived and planned as a work of art, as well as a conveyor of knowledge. The content, the images, the text, the papers, the cover materials, the style of binding are all intended primarily to enhance and add to the experience of discovering more about Clare's work.

Anne Lee
Roger Rowe