Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography

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W. W. Norton & Company, May 17, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages

An acclaimed American poet reflects on the life and legacy of John Keats.

Posthumous Keats is the result of Stanley Plumly's twenty years of reflection on the enduring afterlife of one of England's greatest Romanticists. John Keats's famous epitaph—"Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water"—helped cement his reputation as the archetype of the genius cut off before his time. Keats, dead of tuberculosis at twenty-five, saw his mortality as fatal to his poetry, and therein, Plumly argues, lies his tragedy: Keats thought he had failed in his mission "to be among the English poets."In this close narrative study, Plumly meditates on the chances for poetic immortality—an idea that finds its purest expression in Keats, whose poetic influence remains immense. Incisive in its observations and beautifully written, Posthumous Keats is an ode to an unsuspecting young poet—a man who, against the odds of his culture and critics, managed to achieve the unthinkable: the elevation of the lyric poem to sublime and tragic status.

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Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography

User Review  - Book Verdict

It is hard not to want to know more about Keats and Brawne, and poet Plumly's linked essays on the life and death of Keats offer a subtle take. In addition to the love affair, Plumly also examines the ... Read full review

POSTHUMOUS KEATS: A Personal Biography

User Review  - Kirkus

A gentle, concentric chronology of the English poet's life, pausing occasionally for close—sometimes too close—discussions of poems and individual lines.Plumly (English/Univ. of Maryland; Old Heart ... Read full review


On He Flared
Cold Pastoral
This Mortal Body
A Dreaming Thing
Physician Nature
Season of Mists
Material Sublime
selected bibliography
list of illustrations

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About the author (2008)

Stanley Plumly (1939—2019) authored ten books of poetry and four works of nonfiction, including Elegy Landscapes, Posthumous Keats, and The Immortal Evening. Winner of the Truman Capote Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize, among others, Plumly was Maryland's poet laureate from 2009 to 2018 and taught at the University of Maryland where he founded the graduate program in creative writing.

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