The Shepherd’s Calendar; with Village Stories and other Poems …

London: Published for John Taylor … by James Duncan … and sold by J. A. Hessey … 1827.

8vo., pp. [iii]-viii, 238, with the engraved frontispiece, wanting the half-title and terminal leaf of advertisements; light foxing to frontispiece and title-page, else a very good copy in contemporary red russia, gilt, elaborately panelled in blind, bookplate removed from front endpaper.


US $836€679

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First edition. The Shepherd’s Calendar was a work of long gestation and many delays, partly because of the inchoate form in which Clare presented his original manuscript to Taylor and partly because of Taylor’s slash and burn editorial policy. Though the work was finally ready by November 1826, the first drawing for the frontispiece was deemed unsuitable and two months were lost as a second was made and engraved. The delays were not in Clare’s favour: tastes had moved on, the work was not a commercial success, and Clare was left with a stack of remainders. The Shepherd’s Calendar has since, however, acquired a critical reputation for its ‘extraordinary blend of observation and delicate fantasy’ (Jonathan Wordsworth, Visionary Gleam).

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