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This book – which includes copies of John Keats’s poetry in his own hand – has travelled around the world.
In 1818, Keats’s brother George moved to America with his new wife, Georgiana. Keats was upset by the decision, but nevertheless accompanied them to the port of Liverpool on the way, then continued north for a walking tour of Scotland. In a letter to George of 14 February 1819, he is probably referring to the contents of this book when he writes 'In my next packet I shall send you my “Pot of Basil”, “St. Agnes Eve”, and, if I should have finished it, a little thing called “The Eve of St. Mark”'. ‘Pot of Basil’ is better known as ‘Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil’.
Besides the poems mentioned in the letter – in Keats’s own hand – the book contains a number of Keats’s poems which appear to have been copied out by George; apparently from the manuscripts he often posted to the couple.
In May 1819 Keats received a letter from his brother, George, asking him for money. Looking for ways to economise his own expenses, over the next few months he went to stay with friends in the Isle of Wight, London and Winchester, attempting to live cheaply and work hard. In September 1819 he returned to Winchester and began to write 'To Autumn'. The last in the series of Keats’s famous odes, the poem is more tranquil and accepting than the furious emotions expressed in his previous works and is an example of Keats’s increasing skill and maturity as a poet.
2Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
The nightingale has longstanding literary associations, but Keats’s famous ode was inspired by a real-life nightingale as much as by previous poetry. Stephen Hebron considers how Keats uses the bird to position poetic imagination between the mortal and the immortal.
What is melancholy? Stephen Hebron examines changing ideas about the emotion, considering Keats’s suggestion that we embrace melancholy as inextricable from pleasure.
Keats is often seen as a purely sensual poet, isolated from the social and political concerns of his day. Andrew Motion challenges this view, exploring how Keats translated political, philosophical and medical questions into physical, immediate language.
John Keats (1795-1821) composed this poem one morning in early May 1819, when he was still mourning the death of his ...
John Keats (1795-1821) composed his sensuous ode ‘To Autumn’ in September 1819. He was inspired by his ...
Both Hyperion and the revised version The Fall of Hyperion are unfinished allegorical poems. The drafts were written ...