Selected Letters of John Keats: Revised Edition (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Harvard University Press, Jul 1, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 576 pages
3 Reviews

The letters of John Keats are, T. S. Eliot remarked, "what letters ought to be; the fine things come in unexpectedly, neither introduced nor shown out, but between trifle and trifle." This new edition, which features four rediscovered letters, three of which are being published here for the first time, affords readers the pleasure of the poet's "trifles" as well as the surprise of his most famous ideas emerging unpredictably.

Unlike other editions, this selection includes letters to Keats and among his friends, lending greater perspective to an epistolary portrait of the poet. It also offers a revealing look at his "posthumous existence," the period of Keats's illness in Italy, painstakingly recorded in a series of moving letters by Keats's deathbed companion, Joseph Severn. Other letters by Dr. James Clark, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Richard Woodhouse--omitted from other selections of Keats's letters--offer valuable additional testimony concerning Keats the man.

Edited for greater readability, with annotations reduced and punctuation and spelling judiciously modernized, this selection recreates the spontaneity with which these letters were originally written.

  

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Selected Letters of John Keats: Revised Edition, Based on the texts of Hyder Edward Rollins

User Review  - Neal Wyatt - Book Verdict

If it is the letters readers want, then the best source is currently this shortened edition of Hyder Edward Rollins's two-volume The Letters of John Keats, 1814–1821 (Harvard), which is very ... Read full review

Review: Selected Letters

User Review  - Elysa - Goodreads

Keats' letters make me nostalgic for a time I was never a part of. His emotional state about his poems and his life are so easy to follow because of the candid way he speaks to his friends. His life ... Read full review

Contents

VIII
3
IX
7
X
8
XI
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XII
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XIII
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XIV
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XV
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C
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CI
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CII
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CIII
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CIV
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CV
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CVI
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CVII
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XVI
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XC
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XCI
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CLXX
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CLXXVII
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CLXXVIII
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CLXXIX
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CLXXX
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CLXXXI
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CLXXXII
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CLXXXIII
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CLXXXIV
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CLXXXV
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CLXXXVI
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CLXXXVII
510
CLXXXVIII
512
CLXXXIX
513
CXC
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About the author (2009)

John Keats was born in London, the oldest of four children, on October 31, 1795. His father, who was a livery-stable keeper, died when Keats was eight 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. John Keats died in Rome on February 23, 1821 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. His last request was to be placed under a tombstone bearing no name or date, only the words, "Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water.

Grant F. Scott is Associate Professor of English at Muhlenberg College.

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