Selected Poems and Letters of Keats

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Heinemann, 1995 - English poetry - 301 pages
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The books in this A Level poetry series contain a glossary and notes on each page. The approach encourages students to develop their own responses to the poems, and an A Level Chief Examiner offers exam tips. This text contains poems and letters by Keats in chronological order.
  

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Contents

Letter to Thomas Keats 27 June 1818
54
Letter to Thomas Keats 26 uly 1818
61
Letter to James Augustus Hessey 8 October 1818
114
Letter to George and Georgiana Keats 18 December 1818
121
The Eve of St Agnes
131
The Eve of St Mark
157
Letter to George and Georgiana Keats 19 March 1819
164
La Belle Dame sans Merci
171
Ode to Psyche
177
Letter to Fanny Keats 1 May 1819
185
Ode on a Grecian Urn
193
Critical Approaches
274
Explorations and Essays
281
Select Bibliography
295
Copyright

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About the author (1995)

Keats was born in London, the oldest of four children. His father, who was a livery-stable keeper, died when Keats was 8 years old, and his mother died six years later. At age 15, he was apprenticed to an apothecary-surgeon. In 1815 he began studying medicine but soon gave up that career in favor of writing poetry. The critic Douglas Bush has said that, if one poet could be recalled to life to complete his career, the almost universal choice would be Keats, who now is regarded as one of the three or four supreme masters of the English language. His early work is badly flawed in both technique and critical judgment, but, from his casually written but brilliant letters, one can trace the development of a genius who, through fierce determination in the face of great odds, fashioned himself into an incomparable artist. In his tragically brief career, cut short at age 25 by tuberculosis, Keats constantly experimented, often with dazzling success, and always with steady progress over previous efforts. The unfinished Hyperion is the only English poem after Paradise Lost that is worthy to be called an epic, and it is breathtakingly superior to his early Endymion (1818), written just a few years before. Isabella is a fine narrative poem, but The Eve of St. Agnes (1819), written soon after, is peerless. In Lamia (1819) Keats revived the couplet form, long thought to be dead, in a gorgeous, romantic story. Above all it was in his development of the ode that Keats's supreme achievement lies. In just a few months, he wrote the odes "On a Grecian Urn" (1819), "To a Nightingale" (1819), "To Melancholy" (1819), and the marvelously serene "To Autumn" (1819). Keats is the only romantic poet whose reputation has steadily grown through all changes in critical fashion. Once patronized as a poet of beautiful images but no intellectual content, Keats is now appreciated for his powerful mind, profound grasp of poetic principles, and ceaseless quest for new forms and techniques. For many readers, old and young, Keats is a heroic figure.

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