John Clare was a defining voice of the rural poetic tradition. His story was first set down more than two centuries ago and has captured the imagination of the reading public ever since. It is told most vividly and poignantly in Clare's own words. This volume brings together, in definitive form, all Clare's important autobiographical writing. His Journal is set alongside his Sketches and 'Autobiographical Fragments' as well as his famous 'Journey out of Essex'. Maps of Clare's countryside are also included, as are his will and extracts from his asylum letters. Clare appears here as ploughboy, gardener's boy and militiaman; as lover and husband, acquaintance of Hazlitt, Lamb and Coleridge and finally, as inmate in an asylum: his manifold personas emerge with great freshness from this remarkable book.