Cover image for John Keats, the complete poems
Title:
John Keats, the complete poems
Author:
Keats, John, 1795-1821.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Harmondsworth ; New York : Penguin, 1977.
Physical Description:
3-731 pages ; 18 cm
General Note:
"Penguin books."

Includes indexes.
Language:
English
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780140422108
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PR4831 .B3 1977 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Audubon Library PR4831 .B3 1977 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

' I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination' Keat's first volume of poems, published in 1817, demonstrated both his belief in the consummate power of poetry and his liberal views. While he was criticized by many for his politics, his immediate circle of friends and family immediately recognized his genius. In his short life he proved to be one of the greatest and most original thinkers of the second generation of Romantic poets, with such poems as 'Ode to a Nightingale', 'On First Looking into Chapman's Homer', 'La Belle Dame sans Merci' and 'The Fall of Hyperion'. While his writing is illuminated by exaltation of the imagination and abounds with sensuous descriptions of nature's beauty, it also explores profound philosophical questions. John Barnard's acclaimed volume contaiins all the poems known to have been written by Keats, arranged by date of composition. The texts are lightly modernized and are complemented by extensive notes, a textual introduction, an index of classical names, selected extracts from Keat's letters and a number of pieces not widely available, including his annotations to Milton's Paradise Lost.


Author Notes

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."

(Bowker Author Biography)


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