Was Keats really that small?

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Was Keats really that small?

Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:14 am

I've just started re-reading Andrew Motion's biography and he says that Keats' full adult height was 5ft 1in. Could he really have been so short - how can anyone be sure?

It must have been really terrible for him. After all, people were shorter in general, but even in those days he would have really stood out in a crowd (or not as the case may be!!)

I wonder what anyone else thinks about this. How did it affect Keats' temprament and his work? I know that as a child he was very pugnacious, often ending up at fights when he was at Clarke's School in Enfield (usually defending one of his brothers).

Was his small stature something that made him strive even more to achieve great things in the "realm of rhyme" as a way of being noticed in the world despite his physical disavantages?

Hey, no one ever responds to my topics, but at least I'm trying.
I can write about anything given the chance.

Where are all the regulars?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
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Postby Matt » Tue Aug 24, 2004 4:53 pm

I'm here Stephen!

I have only read what you have read in Andrew Motion's biography.
I was thinking-I think perhaps the reason that you do not get replies -and this is just a PERHAPS- is that you tend to ask a lot of questions-when in fact to me it seems that you are the person who should be answering questions! You know a lot about our poet friend and i am at a loss at finding out something that you or I or any of the regulars dont already know....which leads me to my next post....check it out.
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Some comparisons

Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:33 pm

I'm now replying to my own posts - how egotistical is that?

I'll just offer as a comparison the heights of other poets of Keats time so you can get a sense of how unusually small he was even in that period:


John Clare and William Blake were inly an inch or two taller than Keats.

Byron - 5ft 8in

Coleridge, Worsworth and Burns - all 5ft 9in

Robert Southey 5ft 11in

Shelley was an unusual 6ft tall

Interesting eh?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
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Postby Despondence » Wed Aug 25, 2004 1:56 pm

Maybe that's why there are no Dutch poets - they're too tall!
(or the language is too horrid)
Despondence
 

Surely there must be Dutch poets!

Postby Saturn » Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:58 am

I am surprised to hear there is no famous Dutch poets. There must be some!!!

The langauge can't be that bad. After all English is probably the most Barabric, mongrelised, hybrid form of speech ever created, yet it gave us Shakespeare and Milton and Dickens.

Besides the earliest roots of English have been traced to Friesland, so at least the Dutch can claim that.

It must be a nightmare for people having to learn with it's totally irregular verbs and it's strange syntax.

What people in th rest of the world think of the English poets is something that intrigues me.
I know that Shakespeare is acclaimed the world over and even Byron is still widely celebrated (did you know that students in China read Byron as they stood in front of the tanks in the Tianneman Square massacre in 1989?).

I wonder what they think of Keats - where does he stand in the pantheon?

Perhaps you are best placed to answer this Despondence as our foreign corrospondent.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
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