Edge of the Orison : In the Traces of John Clare's "Journey Out of Essex", Paperback

Edge of the Orison : In the Traces of John Clare's "Journey Out of Essex" Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


In Edge of the Orison the visionary Iain Sinclair walks in the steps of poet John Clare.

In 1841 the poet John Clare fled an asylum in Epping Forest and walked eighty miles to his home in Northborough.

He was searching for his lost love, Mary Joyce - a woman three years dead ...In 2000 Iain Sinclair set out to recreate Clare's walk away from madness.

He wanted to understand his bond with the poet and escape the gravity of his London obsessions.

Accompanied on this journey by his wife Anna (who shares a connection with Clare), the artist Brian Catling and magus Alan Moore - as well as a host of literary ghosts, both visionary and romantic - Sinclair's quest for Clare becomes an investigation into madness, sanity and the nature of the poet's muse. "Brilliant ...amusing, alarming and poignant. An elegy for an already lost English landscape. Magnificent and urgent". (Robert Macfarlane, Times Literary Supplement). "A sensitive,beautifully rendered portrait ...a feast, a riddle, a slowly unravelling conundrum ...a love-letter to British Romanticism". (Independent). "Sinclair walks every inch of his wonderful novels and psychogeographies, pacing out huge word-courses like an architect laying out a city on an empty plain". (J. G. Ballard, Observer). Iain Sinclair is the author of Downriver (winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award); Landor's Tower; White Chappell, Scarlet Tracings; Lights Out for the Territory; Lud Heat; Rodinsky's Room (with Rachel Lichtenstein); Radon Daughters; London Orbital, Dining on Stones, Hackney, that Rose-Red Empire, and Ghost Milk.

He is also the editor of London: City of Disappearances.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: general
  • ISBN: 9780141012759



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

As with all of his books,Iain Sinclair takes us on a fascinating, if diversionary and digressive journey. In "Edge of the Orison",we follow the author and his companions on a walk which follows the route of the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet, John Clare. This journey begins in Epping Forest and ends in the village of Glinton (which used to be part of Northamptonshire.On the way we meet many interesting characters,not least the Northampton writer Alan Moore.(The League of Extraordinary Gentleman ect)The descriptions of the countryside and the villages they pass through are excellent,as are the mentions of books.As he says 'My memory might be full of holes,but books are never forgotten'.

Review by

An excellent piece of writing with echoes of both Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Sterne. Mr Sinclair sets off to discover more about the poet John Clare by following, very vaguely, the route he took when escaping from a private mental asylum and walking home through southern England.Mr Sinclair's style is immediate. Reading is sometimes like listening to him on a dictaphone. Phrases rather than sentences. Chopped about. Describing whatever his eyes light upon. It has Kerouacian immediacy but combined with Sterne's capacity for digression.The search for Clare becomes dominated by an amateurish geneaological attempt to link his wife's family to that of the poet. In the end no link but the process of walking through the countryside is one of discovery both of the objectives of the mission but also importantly of whatever turns up.

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