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Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:28 pm
by Credo Buffa
Have any of you come across this new book?

John Keats: A Poet and his Manuscripts by Stephen Hebron (2009)
http://www.amazon.com/John-Keats-Poet-His-Manuscripts/dp/0712349243/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I1VCGKTEZFRD1P&colid=2C07MGC6HDBTY

It looks VERY intriguing. I've always wanted something with facsimile printings of Keats' writings, but most of those printed thus far have been far too expensive for my meagre budget. Looking at anyone's work in the original hand is fascinating, like watching the creative process unfold from across time. I suppose it's as close as any of us can get to sitting next to Keats while he composes!

Anyone else have this or other facsimile editions of Keats?

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:28 pm
by Saturn
Oh wow that looks great, but expensive as you say. A lovely item to add to one's collection. I guess maybe local libraries would have something like that, I've certainly never seen anything like that for sale.

Nice find Credo.

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 7:36 pm
by Credo Buffa
The $40 list price is a steal, though, compared to most other existing facsimile editions which start around $100 at best! This is at least one you could save for without feeling like you're depriving yourself of, say, food for a couple of weeks. ;)

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:36 am
by Cybele
I've just added the book to my "Wish List" on Amazon.
I've only once seen a volume with facsimiles of the MS. It was a *huge* volume that was housed in the library of the local university. (I used to go visit it regularly. :) )

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:53 pm
by Raphael
Wow! I would love that! I'm saving up now! I love his handwriting!

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:57 pm
by Cybele
Raphael wrote:Wow! I would love that! I'm saving up now! I love his handwriting!


I know! His handwriting is actually legible! :lol:
Seriously tho', I like seeing how the poems came together. The canceled out parts can tall you a lot.

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:12 pm
by Raphael
I know! His handwriting is actually legible! :lol:


I have to say I struggle with reading some of it as I have always had problems reading what I call joined up writing as my own is printed.


Seriously tho', I like seeing how the poems came together. The canceled out parts can tall you a lot.


Yes- they do.

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:47 pm
by Credo Buffa
Raphael wrote:I have to say I struggle with reading some of it as I have always had problems reading what I call joined up writing as my own is printed.

Practice makes perfect! I had a job a few years ago. . . goodness, almost four years ago now--how time flies!. . . where I had to read and grade student essays for standardized testing. You get very adept at reading chicken scratch at a job like that! I imagine if you had this book, though, you'd get used to how Keats forms his letters and be reading his handwriting like a pro in no time. ;)

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 9:24 pm
by Malia
I had to try to read the indecipherable writing of engineers when I worked at the Hanford nuclear site. Keats's handwriting is much more legible. And it is true, the more you look at his handwriting, the easier it is to understand. One of the things that makes reading Keats's manuscripts interesting (and invaluable) is that you get to read his quirks, intentional misspellings and capitalizations (he tended to capitalize words he felt were important or that he had respect for). Also, there are times you can "read" how fast his mind is working through dashes and haphazard punctuation. Sometimes, you can almost palpably feel his emotional state. I remember reading the actual letter Keats wrote to the Brawnes from on board the Maria Crowther. He writes in a fairly steady hand all the way until the end when he scribbles, in a crampt script that almost tapers off with despair at the end "Good bye Fanny! God bless you."

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:50 pm
by Raphael
And it is true, the more you look at his handwriting, the easier it is to understand.


I agree- I'm getting better at it.



One of the things that makes reading Keats's manuscripts interesting (and invaluable) is that you get to read his quirks, intentional misspellings and capitalizations (he tended to capitalize words he felt were important or that he had respect for). Also, there are times you can "read" how fast his mind is working through dashes and haphazard punctuation. Sometimes, you can almost palpably feel his emotional state. I remember reading the actual letter Keats wrote to the Brawnes from on board the Maria Crowther. He writes in a fairly steady hand all the way until the end when he scribbles, in a crampt script that almost tapers off with despair at the end "Good bye Fanny! God bless you."


Yes- that's all so true

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:06 pm
by Credo Buffa
One of the great things about having things like hand-written copies of Keats' poetry, as well as his letters, is that it humanizes him all the more. It's so easy to think of great figures we admire as something other than ourselves. But then you read something Gittings' edition of Keats' letters, where spelling and punctuation are preserved from the original, and see that he seems pathologically unable to spell "Shakespeare" correctly, all of a sudden you see the person behind the art. You literally see in front of you the mistakes and the second thoughts and the jokes and the everyday things that make us all human and connect us in all our imperfections. It's a lovely gift that we are able to have those things even after hundreds of years.

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:29 am
by Cybele
Credo Buffa wrote:One of the great things about having things like hand-written copies of Keats' poetry, as well as his letters, is that it humanizes him all the more. It's so easy to think of great figures we admire as something other than ourselves. But then you read something Gittings' edition of Keats' letters, where spelling and punctuation are preserved from the original, and see that he seems pathologically unable to spell "Shakespeare" correctly, all of a sudden you see the person behind the art. You literally see in front of you the mistakes and the second thoughts and the jokes and the everyday things that make us all human and connect us in all our imperfections. It's a lovely gift that we are able to have those things even after hundreds of years.


And how I wish there were a facsimile edition of the letters!
They're so conversational -- not stuffy in the least like so many early 19th century letters are. Reading the letters is like sitting down with a dear friend, having a beer and exchanging ideas. (Altho' in the case of the letters, the conversation is a bit one-sided! :lol: ) I love that Keats was a poor speller. -- This makes him seem to me even more like one of my friends, albeit one of my *smarter* friends! :D (By the way, so his brother George was no better a speller.) I'd so love to see the rapid dashes, the incorrect spellings, the rapid-fire change of trajectory of thoughts, etc.

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:09 pm
by Raphael
Oh his letters...so wonderful! Warm, funny, interesting, witty, passionate and caring. He shows his vulnerabilites and "faults", shares his ideas and philosophies and includes his poems. I can read them over and over again. I love his use of capitals too!

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:55 pm
by Malia
I will admit that I enjoy Keats's letters more than his poetry. His great poems are fabulous, of course, and To Autumn and Ode to a Nightingale are among my favorites of all time--but there is just *something* about his letters! I think it is what has been said earlier; there is a deep humanity to Keats's letters--his misspellings, his dashing around from subject to subject. I love how he can be profoundly philosophical one minute and a complete gossip the next :lol: We are privy to his prejudices and also to how wide his heart could be. We see how deeply intuitive he was, shaping his letters to the ear of each recipient. I have been reading Keats's letters since I was 15 and could barely understand their content. And here I am, 20 years later, still reading them and re-reading, and re-reading! He's very much like an old, dear friend; and here I am some crazy American woman living nearly 200 years after he wrote those letters. Can you imagine having been one of the actual recipients of his letters? It is easy to see why more than one of his friends had "the friend of Keats" written (in some form or another) on their gravestones.

Re: Facsimile Editions of Keats

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:01 pm
by Raphael
I love how he can be profoundly philosophical one minute and a complete gossip the next :lol:


Yes- one minute he is blwoing me away with something deep an d profound, then the next he is making me laugh out loud! I wonder if his conversation was like that- changing from one topic and mood to the next? Was this what people meant by him being intense? If so- wow he would have been amazing to be around!


We are privy to his prejudices and also to how wide his heart could be. We see how deeply intuitive he was, shaping his letters to the ear of each recipient.


A big heart- he could be so very kind- look how he helped the passengers on the Maria Crowther when he was so very ill himself.Very very intuitive- so he proves that it's a myth men are not intuitive! :lol:



Can you imagine having been one of the actual recipients of his letters? It is easy to see why more than one of his friends had "the friend of Keats" written (in some form or another) on their gravestones.


Wow yes! No wonder he got many dinner invitations too- he was truly magical. Wouldn't you want him at your table? :wink: