Jack Clemo : cartographer of grace
JACK CLEMO: CARTOGRAPHER OF GRACE is an interpretative study of the novels and poetry of Jack Clemo. Chapter One traces, through published biographical material, the main personal influences upon the development of his vision. Chapters Two to Four show how ideas which first found publication in his published poetry only after 1951 had developed over a period of twenty years. The material for these chapters (mainly unpublished novels and juvenile poetry) was kindly loaned to the author by Mr Clemo. The published novels and first collection of verses are studied in the four following chapters, where it becomes clear that Clemo's initial, distinctive Calvinist view of life shows striking similarities with the neo-orthodox writings of Karl Earth (whom he had not then read) and the post-Barthian Jurgen Moltmann (whom Clemo has never read). These chapters offer an interpretation of Clemo's Calvinist vision and show it to be both theologically sound and, in terms of literature, unique. Clemo's contribution, it is seen, is in terms of his metaphoric use of landscape in a sustained refutation of the case for a natural theology; this, and his personal adaptation of the idea of election inspired by his admiration for Robert Browning. Substantial changes of poetic technique appear in the collection Cactus on Carmel, and these, and their sources, are accounted for in Chapter Nine. Chapters Ten to Twelve trace the development of Clemo's poetry away from its pre-occupation with the landscape of South- East Cornwall, the expansion of genre to include portraiture and dramatic monologue, and account for these developments in terms of Clemo's life-long determination to marry. This determination is seen to be the most important influence upon Clemo's life, shaping all the work he has produced. Chapter Thirteen examines the poetry in which Clemo challenges head on the materialism of the century. The final chapter is a detailed study of the worksheets of poems Clemo wrote over some twenty five years, and thus compares the processes of production adopted after the poet became blind with those employed earlier.