Seek and Ye Shall Find

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

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Seek and Ye Shall Find

Postby LoandBehold » Thu Mar 25, 2004 3:24 am

John Keats is still the best English poet ever, I dare anyone to find someone better!
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Hear, hear

Postby Castalia » Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:05 am

As much as I like arguing, in this case, concur I must:
The glorious feats of Mr. Keats leave everyone else in the dust!

But I think Shelley warrants a respectable second... :wink:

Hmmm. Speaking of which, it's likely most of us agree on the greatest English poet (note the site name, after all), but who's everyone's choice for second-greatest English poet?

This could get interesting.
'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.'
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Postby Despondence » Fri Apr 23, 2004 10:41 am

I'm not sure I'm willing to rank Shakespeare as second to Keats...prehaps more like the other way around. But if we're only considering romantic poets, then I'd nominate Worsworth for the silver medal.
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Postby Castalia » Fri Apr 23, 2004 3:31 pm

Bother bother bother. I really am stupid. How could I forget about Shakespeare? :oops: He definitely ranks first.

How about "greatest non-playwright" poet for Keats? I mean, he did write Otho the Great, but that hardly counts.
'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.'
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re:

Postby BrightStar » Wed Nov 17, 2004 3:33 am

After Keats I like John Donne. I know the two have little in common, but Donne's "A Valdediction Forbidding Mourning" never ceases to give me chills with how powerful it is, and I love the imagery of the compass, and the "gold to airy thinness beat." The last two lines, however, are my favorites "Thy firmness makes my circle just/ and makes me end where I begun." Beautiful.

For anyone who has never read the poem here is a link:

http://www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/donne/mourning.htm
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Postby Junkets » Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:18 am

Mmmm, John Donne is great, I haven't read his stuff in a while. I really like The Relic; I love the way he manages to discuss intimate love through the subject of death and at the same time bring the differences between catholicism and the protestant church into the equation. A very clever gentleman.
With regard to Shakespeare, I love the sonnets, but I've never managed to thoroughly engage in the rest of his poetry (maybe with the exception of A Lover's Complaint which I liked bits of), but I don't doubt the talent of the man; that would be foolish. And Wordsworth? I need to watch my tongue here....I really don't like the vast majority of his work. I think that Tintern Abbey is stupendously spectacular and possibly the best thing to come out of Wordsworth's part of the Lyrical Ballads, there are also excerpts from the The Prelude which I like, but I have read very little of that. The difficulty that I have with Wordsworth is the same that I have with Dickens; I don't think he is involved with the people he depicts. I feel that he observes from a throne of sorts; that he doesn't quite engage with them (Elizabeth Gaskell is superior to Dickens in my mind for that reason).
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Postby Saturn » Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:38 am

I like Elizabeth Gaskell - Wives and Daughters is a masterpiece, but come on, Dickens is probably the most humane and sympathetic of novelists in any language - his characterisations are always acutely observed and not at all aloof from real life, even if many of them are exaggerations or parody's of types of people.

Wordsworth often leaves me cold as well, apart form the famous anthology poems, he seems very distant from the world, more in love with himself than other people and the world around him.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Junkets » Wed Nov 17, 2004 4:23 pm

Ah ha Stephen, you hit the nail on the head with that one. I've always considered Wordsworth to be very concerned with the notion of the poet and someone intent on 'being' a poet; dare I say that it appears a little contrived (I also hold the same opinion of Yates whose active adoption of the poetic 'look' is well known).

I found with Gaskell, in particular the fantastic Mary Barton, that I was far more drawn into the novel than with anything I have read of Dickens, I found easy to empathise with the characters in Gaskell's novels where I haven't so much with Dickens'. I don't for a minute dispute the fact that Dickens is one of Britain's best story tellers, I just don't enjoy the style of his writing. Emile Zola, on the other hand, relocating the subject to France, I cannot praise enough. Although I am forced to read his novels in translation they just amaze me. L'Assomoir in particular left me utterly devestated and in dispair, and years after reading it I still often think of poor Gervaise, the protagonist, and wonder how she went wrong....It is the most fantastic novel I have ever read; Zola managed to place himself firmly in the gutter for that one. Utterly amazing!
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Postby Saturn » Thu Nov 18, 2004 10:25 am

For another fantastic French novel you have to read Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - quite simply the greatest novel ever written - forget the dodgy musical image - it is a profound and deeply moving work which encompasses history, philosophy, religion, romance, crime and punishment - the whole of human experience in one massive tome.

I guarantee that you will be entranced by the plight of Jean Valjean and his adopted daughter Cosette.

Stunning.
Last edited by Saturn on Thu Nov 18, 2004 9:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Junkets » Thu Nov 18, 2004 12:30 pm

I came to the conclusion that I can't successfully study Zola without knowledge of his contemporaries and influences, and Hugo and Balzac were on the top of the list. I've read a couple of Balzac novels and wasn't hugely impressed, but I do want to read Hugo, and I think Les Miserables will be first choice.

Has anyone read Scenes de la Vie de Boheme by Henri Murger? Like Les Miserables this was adapted for the stage as Puccini's la Boheme, but I've read some good things about it and want to read it, but it's difficult to come by unless I want to pay £25 on Amazon...which I don't.
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re:

Postby BrightStar » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:18 am

I've never seen 'Scenes de la Vie de Boheme' but I just saw Puccini's 'La Boheme' for the first time a few weeks ago at the New York City Opera. It moved me a great deal more than I expected it would. I'd actually read some of the libretto for an Italian class years ago, but hearing it sung was just amazing. Though the story itself is rather contrived the music really makes you feel the words. I had no idea it was based on a book though; I will have to look out for a translation.
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Postby Becky » Mon Feb 14, 2005 6:32 pm

Gaskell would be better than Dickens if she told the truth a bit more, like Zola, but as Zola's description is heavy and he has far too little sympathy for most of his characters, he doesn't beat Dickens either. Dickens rarely tries full-on realism, which gives him the freedom to distance himself from society and so comment more fully on real humanity. Fairy tales may not be realistic or particularly emotive, but they can illustrate human psychology better than the almost full-on journalism of Gaskell and Zola that can feel degrading and voyeuristic...so which one is more detached?
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Postby lupinjr » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:53 am

Keats is the greatest english poet ever. But what I dont understand is why people who appreciate Keats stick to the dictum that Shakespeare is a greater poet than Keats. Putting aside the question of wether a dramatist in verse is a poet or not Shakspeare isyet to produce a work of art that in its value even comes in the same leauge as The Grecian Urn or The Nightingale. This is true of Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey too. The climax of the poem takes you into almost supersensous realms. Shakespeare's plays cannot hope to approach such regions. When evaluated as an art poetry is a far superior medium to drama. Its only natural that the best in poetry should be superior to the best in drama.
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