Despite his literary successes—publishing six volumes of poetry, a play, and a children's book—Robert Bloomfield never escaped from poverty or anxiety and died early and in distress. This penniless history supports the description of Bloomfield as the most successful of the self-taught "peasant poets" of the Romantic period and underscores the incredible odds that any of his writings should be discovered at all. This selection of Bloomfield's poems was originally published in 1998 and was the first scholarly edition of his work. Bloomfield believed that his patron, Capel Lofft, had altered the text excessively, and so this edition has completely restored Bloomfield's own, much fresher text from the autobiographical manuscript at Harvard University. Revised and enlarged, this version also includes a selection of Bloomfield's prose prefaces and explanatory notes, a chronology of his life, and a list of further reading.
About the Author
Robert Bloomfield was the prolific and popular author of The Farmer's Boy, which sold an unprecedented 26,000 copies in the three years following its publication in 1800. His work was also praised by William Wordsworth and John Clare, who called him the "English Theocritus." John Goodridge is a profesor of English at Nottingham Trent University and the general editor of Eighteenth Century Labouring-Class Poets: 1700–1800 and Rural Life in Eighteenth Century English Poetry. John Lucas is a professor emeritus of English at Nottingham Trent University and the author of seven collections of poetry, including The Long and Short of It and A World Perhaps: New and Selected Poems.