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Record 11485

Reading Experience:

'a circumstance occurd which nearly stopd me from writing even for my own amusement borrowing a school book of a companion, having some entertaining things in it both in prose and Verse with an introduction by the compiler, who doubtless like myself knew little about either [...] in this introduction was rules both for writing as well as reading Compositions in prose and verse, were, stumbling on a remark that a person who knew nothing of grammer was not capable of writing a letter nor even a bill of parcels, I was quite in the suds, seeing that I had gone on thus far without learing the first rudiments of doing it properly for I had hardly h[e]ard the name of grammer, while at school ? but as I had an itch for trying at every thing I got hold of I determ[i]ned to try grammer, and for that purpose, by the advice of a friend, bought the "Universal Spelling Book" as the most easy assistant for my starting out, but finding a jumble of words classd under this name and that name and this such a figure of speech and that another hard worded figure I turned from further notice of it in disgust for as I knew I could talk to be understood I thought by the same method my writing might be made out as easy and as proper, so in the teeth of grammer I pursued my literary journey' [In the suds = In the dumps]
Century: 1800-1849
Date: Between 1 Jan 1800 and 31 Dec 1805
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: Helpston
county: Northamptonshire
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:John Clare
Age Child (0-17)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 17 Jul 1793
Socio-economic group: Labourer (agricultural)
Occupation: Agricultural Labourer
Religion: Church of England
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: The attribution of Fenning as Clare's source is by the editors of 'By Himself,' Eric Robinson and David Powell


Text Being Read:

Author: Daniel Fenning
Title: The universal spelling-book: or, a new and easy guide to the English Language. Containing I Tables of Words [...] V Chronological Tables of the Succession of the Kings of England [...]
Genre: History, Poetry, Education, Textbook / self-education, Reference / General works
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: the forty-first edition with additions [...] Revised, corrected and improved by the Rev. J. Malham. London: S. Crowder; Salisbury; B.C. Collins, 1794
Provenance: borrowed (other)


Source Information:

Record ID: 11485  
Source - Print  
  Author: John Clare
  Editor: Eric Robinson
  Title: John Clare By Himself
  Place of Publication: Ashington
  Date of Publication: 1996
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 17
  Additional comments: Co-editor David Powell

Citation: John Clare, Eric Robinson (ed.), John Clare By Himself (Ashington, 1996), p. 17,, accessed: 18 August 2019

Additional comments:

A Clareian epiphanic moment which was crucial to his sense of identity and purpose. British Library Shelfmark 1568/4140



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)