Five Questions: Simon Kövesi on John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History

By Matthew Sangster

Simon Kövesi is Professor and Head of the Department of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes University. He tweets as @kovesi1. He has published widely on contemporary fiction (with a particular focus on the Scottish novelist James Kelman), on working-class literature and on the relationship between writing and the natural world. At the heart of his work, though, is his abiding interest in and love for John Clare, on whom he has published numerous essays and book chapters. He is the editor of the John Clare Society Journal and the co-editor (with Scott McEathron) of New Essays on John Clare: Poetry, Culture and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has recently led a high-profile campaign to highlight the threat posed to Clare’s archives by ongoing local authority cuts. His passion for Clare’s work has also led to his being one of the very few academics to have sparred with a straw bear on the silver screen. Below, we discuss his most recent monograph, John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History, which was published by Palgrave in September 2017.

1) What first drew you to John Clare?

I …read more