Edge of the Orison: In the Traces of John Clare's 'Journey Out of Essex'
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In Edge of the Orison the visionary Iain Sinclair walks in the steps of poet John Clare
In 1841 the poet John Clare fled an asylum in Epping Forest and walked eighty miles to his home in Northborough. He was searching for his lost love, Mary Joyce - a woman three years dead ...
In 2000 Iain Sinclair set out to recreate Clare's walk away from madness. He wanted to understand his bond with the poet and escape the gravity of his London obsessions. Accompanied on this journey by his wife Anna (who shares a connection with Clare), the artist Brian Catling and magus Alan Moore - as well as a host of literary ghosts, both visionary and romantic - Sinclair's quest for Clare becomes an investigation into madness, sanity and the nature of the poet's muse.
'Brilliant . . . amusing, alarming and poignant. An elegy for an already lost English landscape. Magnificent and urgent'Robert Macfarlane, Times Literary Supplement
'A sensitive,beautifully rendered portrait . . . a feast, a riddle, a slowly unravelling conundrum . . . a love-letter to British Romanticism'Independent
'Sinclair walks every inch of his wonderful novels and psychogeographies, pacing out huge word-courses like an architect laying out a city on an empty plain'J. G. Ballard, Observer
Iain Sinclair is the author of Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award); Landor's Tower; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky's Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); Radon Daughters; London Orbital, Dining on Stones, Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire and Ghost Milk. He is also the editor of London: City of Disappearances.
Mary To Me’: John Clare's Epping Forest lament. Mary Annabel Rose Hadman now understood that the Rose part of her name was no decorative addition, but a mark of family loyalty. The walk was a homecoming and she stepped out briskly, relishing immodest skies; unfenced, untidy, amphibian horizons. For years, above my desk, I kept a yellow poster; the print of a poem in holograph by Charles Olson. It was dated from 1965 and designed to mimic the shape of a rose. A sentence twisted round on itself
was absolutely right, book-learning is a kind of witchcraft, letters of the alphabet are instruments of intent. Like the coded language Clare noticed in the sky above flat fields. ‘Wild geese scudding along and making all the letters of the Alphabet as they flew.’ The childhood walk to Emmonsales Heath, remembered, re-experienced as one of Clare's ‘Autobiographical Fragments’, was an announcement of difference, separation from the clods and clowns of Helpston. I was finding new wonders every
(Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi – 110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL
sees it, is to eliminate any trace of human awkwardness, material that might be mistaken for the work of inferior or overpraised rivals. He stands, legs apart, struggling to devise a record of something tangential to the thrust of narrative. Exposure blown, focus twisted: a revenge on cinema. Another step towards relinquishing his iconic status as a film-maker who doesn't film. Movement, he decides, is the only solution: new location, new life. Art without the artist. Unmediated light: as
beetle-browed gang. With low tolerance for nonsense of any kind. The five-bar gate places them on Rectory Lane, looking at the apple orchards on the far side. Here, at last, is something to work with. We pass the Blue Bell pub (tricked out with antique farm implements), and start down the lane. Anna notices how the redbrick frontage of the family house has been grafted on to the armature of a much older cottage. A metal fire-insurance badge is visible between the upstairs windows. Anna recalls