John Clare was one of the earliest collectors of folk song and music in Southern England, and the numerous songs, descriptions of the folk customs and beliefs of his native Helpston in Northamptonshire, together with the nearly 300 tunes transcribed in this book, give us a unique view into the disappearing pre-industrial culture of the early nineteenth century. George Deacon’s classic work – in paperback for the first time – establishes the relationship between the folk culture of Clare’s day and his development as a poet.
The outstanding contribution made by George Deacon in his John Clare and the folk tradition to the study of this subject has placed all lovers of Clare in his debt.’
‘George Deacon’s study… is a classic work, which brings us so close to Clare we can almost hear his living voice. We can also hear his father’s and mother’s voices, so that a vanished world and a neglected culture comes back with an eager and vital freshness.’
‘No one interested in English tradition will want to be without a copy.’
George Deacon spent 15 years as a folk singer before beginning research on the John Clare manuscripts – a task that was to take him nearly four years to complete. He has written and performed for radio, television and film, and works as a business consultant specialising in social care issues.