In Cowden Clarke's words

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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In Cowden Clarke's words

Postby dks » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:33 pm

Oh, people! In my research for my thesis I have had the inexplicable honor of being allowed to read the first hand account of Keats's young life by Cowden Clarke--with special thanks to the British Library. I have not, until now, posted anything I have been reading because it would take hours to type. I have a copy of Clarke's Recollections of Keats By an Old School-Fellow. I actually got to read the original article as printed in an 1861 edition of the then hard bound Atlantic Monthly. I almost squealed with delight when I read this...yes, squealed...it's like a goldmine of information bringing you one step closer to knowing what he was really like...

There is one of his attitudes, during familiar conversation, which, at times, (with the whole earnest manner and sweet expression of the man) presents itself to me, as though I had seen him only last week. The attitude I speak of was that of cherishing one leg over the knee of the other, smoothing the instep with the palm of his hand. In this action I mostly associate him in an eager parley with Leigh Hunt, in his little cottage in the Vale of Health...his stature could have been very little more than five feet; but he was, withal, compactly made and well-proportioned; and before the hereditary disorder which carried him off began to show itself, he was active, athletic, and enduringly strong,--as the fight with the butcher gave full attestation.

There is so much more...Clarke offers the true coloring of his eyes, hair, and the intricate details of his facial expressions, not to mention things he would say...

It's a bit overwhelming to read this...I cannot even tell you...if anyone is interested, I can type more over time from it...I still have Severn's account to read...those copies are patiently waiting for me in plastic...
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Malia » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:36 pm

Thanks for that, dks. I've read that passage before and it does give us a great image of Keats. :)
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:56 pm

Here I am, freaking out over disturbing the quiet lives of 80-year-old flute players to get interviews for my research, while Denise is out there reading Clarke's original memoirs. . . :roll: Why did I pick ethnomusicology?

I can feel your excitement from here! Yes, please do share more passages if you have the time to type them out. Have you come across anything surprising or new that we might not have heard before?
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Postby Saturn » Thu Apr 05, 2007 9:39 pm

Denise get a scanner - don't type all that out :lol:

I love little details like that which can only come from one who knew him in life. These are the things that modern biographers, no matter how good can never capture fully - the man in life, in movement, in conversation, his habits and his attitude.

Wonderful, I can see him now, [with Severn's oft-reproduced painting with a book on his knee, in mind] chatting away to Hunt :P
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Postby dks » Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:41 am

I know--I do need to get a scanner... :!:

I have read quite a few passages which I've never before seen...I'll type them out over the next few days and post it. Excited isn't the word--more like just :shock:

Credo, I think talking to 80 year-old flute players would be quite intriguing...do any of them like Keats? :wink:
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Postby Credo Buffa » Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:40 am

dks wrote:Credo, I think talking to 80 year-old flute players would be quite intriguing...do any of them like Keats? :wink:

I don't think I'll ever have occasion to know, because it's irrelevant information for my research and the last thing I want to be doing is taking up more of my interviewee's time than necessary!

Would they even let you scan that stuff? It seems that with paper that old they'd have very strict rules about light exposure and things like that. :?
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Postby Saturn » Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:08 am

That's a point - we don't want books like that damaged :shock:
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Re: In Cowden Clarke's words

Postby Raphael » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:02 am

There is so much more...Clarke offers the true coloring of his eyes, hair, and the intricate details of his facial expressions, not to mention things he would say...


Oh wow- please tell me more! I would love to know all of the above...his facial expressions...oh to know them...

I couldn't find it on Amazon- is it online somewhere?
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: In Cowden Clarke's words

Postby BrokenLyre » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:19 am

Thank you dks - you always make me happy. I am positively envious and yet delighted for you!
Thanks for sharing - it means so much to me!
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Re: In Cowden Clarke's words

Postby Raphael » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:29 am

It's an old post Broken Lyre- i have been looking at some of the older ones and found some gems like this- I only hope dks has the details of this...
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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