Readers' reactions

August 11, 2000

Last month in The THES Zachary Leader called on Eric Robinson to relinquish his control over the copyright of poet John Clare

* Nick Groom Senior lecturer in English University of Bristol

Eric Robinson is very keen to keep control over all editing rights on the 19th-century English nature poet John Clare.

If no Romantic scholar can deny the exemplary job he has done in preparing the Clarendon edition of John Clare, one must admit that his version is only one possible version of Clare's text.

I have deliberately used Simon Kovesi's excellent (if "unauthorised") edition in undergraduate classes. I have been moved by students' immediate responses to Clare's poetry and then by their anger that Kovesi's edition could be denied them. They were outraged at Professor Robinson's attitude.

So, with Ivo Mosley, I am preparing another "unauthorised" (meaning modernised, punctuated and accessible) edition of Clare.

Imagine if we were only ever permitted to read Shakespeare's Sonnets in the 1609 edition. We salute Simon Kovesi and await further developments.

* Alison Ramsden, Via email

Of course Eric Robinson should relinquish his claim to Clare's copyright.

I find it morally repugnant that one person should lay exclusive claim to another person's intellectual property.

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