John Keats: Poetry Manuscripts at Harvard, a Facsimile Edition

John Keats: Poetry Manuscripts at Harvard, a Facsimile Edition

Hardcover(Facsimile Edition)



After more than a century of study, we know more about Keats than we do about most writers of the past, but we still cannot frilly grasp the magical processes by which he created some of the most celebrated poems in all of English literature. This volume, containing 140 photographs of Keats's own manuscripts, offers the most concrete evidence we have of the way in which his thoughts and feelings were transmuted into art.

The rough first drafts in particular are frill of information about what occurred, if not in Keats's mind, at least on paper when he had pen in hand: the headlong rush of ideas coming so fast that he had no time to punctuate or even form the letters of his words; the stumbling places where he had to begin again several times before the words resumed their flow; the efforts to integrate story, character, and theme with the formal requirements of rhyme and meter. Each revision teaches the inquiring reader something about Keats's poetic practice.

Several of the manuscripts are unique authoritative sources, while others constitute our best texts among multiple existing versions. They reveal much about the maturation of the poet's creativity during four years of his brief life, between "On Receiving a Curious Shell" (1815) and "To Autumn" (1819). Above all, they show us what is lost when penmanship yields to the printed page: what Helen Vendler, in her insightfiul essay on the manuscripts, calls "the living hand of Keats." These sharply reproduced facsimiles provide compelling visual evidence of a mortal author in the act ofcomposing immortal works.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674477759
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 02/01/1990
Series: Belknap Press Series
Edition description: Facsimile Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Jack Stillinger is Professor of English and a permanent member of the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois.

Helen Vendler is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction

The Living Hand of Keats: An Essay on the Manuscripts, by Helen Vendler

Facsimiles of the Holographs

1. On Receiving a Curious Shell, and a Copy of Verses, from the Same Ladies (fair copy)

2. Happy is England! I could be content (fair copy)

3. To My Brother George (pencil draft)

4. To My Brother George (flair copy)

5. On First Looking into Chapman's Homer (draft or early fair copy)

6. To My Brothers (pencil draft) 1-8

7. To My Brothers (fair copy)

8. To My Brothers (fair copy)

9. Addressed to the Same [B. R. Haydon] (fair copy)

10. To G. A. W (fair copy)

11. I stood tip-toe upon a little hill (parts of the draft)

12. I stood tip-toe upon a little hill (fair copy)

13. Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition (draft)

14. On Receiving a Laurel Crown from Leigh Hunt (fair copy)

15. To the Ladies Who Saw Me Crown'd (fair copy)

16. To Haydon with a Sonnet Written on Seeing the Elgin Marbles (fair copy)

17. On Seeing the Elgin Marbles (fair copy)

18. God of the golden bow (draft)

19. On a Leander Which Miss Reynolds, My Kind Friend, Gave Me (draft)

20. O grant that like to Peter I (draft and revision)

21. Apollo to the Graces (draft?)

22. Lines on Seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair (draft)

23. Lines on the Mermaid Tavern (fair copy)

24. To. J. R. (draft?)

25. Isabella (parts of the draft)

26. There is a joy in footing slow across a silent plain (draft?)

27. Hush, hush, tread softly, hush, hush, my dear (draft?)

28. The Eve of St. Agnes (draft)

29. Song of Four Fairies (fair copy)

30. Shed no tear-O shed no tear (fair copy?)

31. Otho the Great (parts of the draft)

32. Lamia (parts of the draft)

33. Lamia (fair copy)

34. To Autumn (draft)

35. To Fanny (draft)

36. King Stephen (parts of the draft)

37. The Jealousies (parts of the draft)

38. This living hand, now warm and capable (draft)

39. Notes to the Manuscripts

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