Lindsey Eckert, “‘I’ll be bound’: John Clare’s ‘Don Juan,’ Literary Annuals, and the Commodification of Authorship” (pp. 427–454)

From 1826 to 1844, at least forty-seven of John Clare’s poems appeared in British literary annuals. Though these poems represent his most commercial work, Clare’s engagement with the annuals has remained largely neglected by scholars. This essay addresses this gap, and the intervention I make is twofold. First, I argue for the centrality of the literary annuals to Clare’s authorial career. Second, I suggest that Clare’s simultaneous dependence on and disdain for the annuals is essential to interpreting his invectives in “Don Juan” (composed 1841) against “poet whores” and the bad taste of female readers. I argue that annuals shaped Clare’s understanding of commerciality and, by extension, his asylum poem “Don Juan.” My focus sheds new light on our understanding of Clare’s authorship and his interactions with the literary marketplace.

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