In the Footsteps of Keats

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

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In the Footsteps of Keats

Postby Saturn » Wed Sep 08, 2004 10:09 am

After reading last week about Keats and Brown's tour of Scotland and Ireland, I wondered if anyone had been to see places like Ben Nevis, Ailsa Craig, The Isle of Staffa, Fingals Cave and the Isle of Iona?

I've been to the Keats Shelley House in the Piazza di Spagna in Rome and was a bit underwhelmed - nothing wrong with it really but the prices they charged for stuff was criminal. I bought a mug with the Ode on a Nightingale written on it in Keats handwriting, a copy of the selected letters (ed. Gittings) and a paperweight of Severn's painting of Shelley composing Prometheus Unbound in the Baths of Caracalla. The guy there was very friendly and the whols place was full of interesting stuff, but it was just a wee bit disappointing that's all.

Has anyone been to see the Keats House in Hampstead? Is it worth a visit?

Does anyone else have Keatsian pilgrimages they would like to share with us?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Matt » Wed Sep 08, 2004 2:52 pm

I've been to Keats house!!! It was interesting, and many original Keats artifacts were there such as various letters, locks of hair and pictures. But to be honest, its only what you have already seen in the Motion Biography photographs or on the web.

When I went there me and my friend were the only ones there! Its not a place that is bustling with tourists as one might suspect. Perhaps I just went on an odd day however! It was interesting but much of the furniture is not original-a lot of its Victorian. (I guess Brown hadn't anticipated Keats' coming fame! Otherwise he would have kept all the furniture in the house and made a museum there and then!)

Its interesting and it gives some idea to the area in which Keats lived, the heath is nearby and it seems somewhat magical when you think that Keats often walked across it.

Its worth a visit. But not from Northern Island Steve!!!
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Postby Saturn » Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:55 pm

Isn't most of Hampstead Heath all built upon?

Of course in Keats time, Hampstead was a village outside London, but now I think it has been swallowed up by the metropolis, so it would be difficult to really get a grasp of how quiet and almost pastoral it once was.

Thanks for the advice Matt, I wasn't actually thinking of going any time soon at all, but If I do visit London sometime in the future I might consider just going to breathe in that air of poetry where Keats once drew breath - though being in the great smoke it's more likely to be recycled carbon monoxide!!!!
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Freudian slips

Postby Saturn » Fri Sep 10, 2004 9:44 pm

"Northern Island" is a good Freudian slip, Matt!!
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Postby Matt » Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:07 am

Oh god yeah! How embarrassing! I think I was very drunk at the time I wrote that post. Northern Island. lol
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Postby Saturn » Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:11 am

So when do you leave for Uni?

My cousin left yesterday for Dundee.

Do you have plans to get a job, or wil you just get into a massive student loans debt?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Matt » Tue Sep 14, 2004 1:05 am

I'm leaving on the 26th September. I will get a job but I have a loan also. I expect and perhaps even plan to get into lots of debt!!!
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Postby Saturn » Tue Sep 14, 2004 8:30 am

Good for you - milk those student loans people dry!!!!
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Postby Junkets » Mon Oct 11, 2004 3:45 pm

I went to the Keats house a month ago and although it was an exhilarating experience knowing I was in the same house that Keats had once been in (I'm such a Keats geek!), it's not that great. My overriding opinion of it was that it was a bit barren. Hurrah for the curators of the house to collect the bits and pieces that they do have, but it is minimal, quite minimal. I even ventured to ask the staff if the plum tree, under which Keats supposedly wrote Ode to a Nightingale, was still in its place, I was told it was and skipped off to the garden, barely able to contain my excitement. It wasn't there at all, and what I did find there was another small plum tree with a similarly small plaque stating that it was not the original tree. You would have thought that someone could have taken a cutting from the old tree before it was removed, or is that just pushing the whole geek thing a bit too far?
Well worth seeing never the less, although not had hoped for.
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Postby Saturn » Wed Oct 13, 2004 11:03 am

I used to be a Keats geek, so don't knock it.

Just don't take either yourself, or Keats too seriously.
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Postby Wickers_Poet » Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:51 am

Hey Hampstead is still one of the most beautiful of the suburbs of London. I celebrated it in my own poem: 'Where's Parnassus Hill?'
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Postby Becky » Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:57 am

There are ferry trips around Ailsa Craig from near Girvan, I think. In itself, its just an uninhabited island, but the loneliness of the place, and the sheer rocks to the sea can make it as scary as the poem, if you approach from the right direction. And there's a pub that looks like its been there since Keats time. And you can sometimes see a few Keats geeks milling around ....who knows, you might even see me.

You could do worse than visit Burn' cottage while your there, too. True, ever since it was built, Burns struggled to keep it and himself upright, but as it is officially falling down now, you could physically hold it for posterity. True, you will be accosted by people who should never have read Burns (Keats geeks are nothing to Burns geeks), but I think it would all add to the atmosphere, personally.
Last edited by Becky on Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Saturn » Mon Feb 14, 2005 11:01 am

I sailed past Ailsa Craig on the ferry a few months ago on my way to Troon - it is a spectacularly beautiful sight - like something mythical out if a Greek legend or something - one of the clashing rocks or something.
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pilgrimage

Postby jago » Thu Feb 24, 2005 6:58 pm

hello, just discovered this forum, where unlike most other fora (?)ppl wrte in propa inglsh (only joking) and have spent the last few weeks rediscovering my love of keats, esp biographical stuff. when i paid a visit to hampstead (about 180 years too late) the house was closed...... nevertheless it affected me more than i'd expected and the dissapointment rapidly faded, i ended up just standing in the street for forty or so minutes in a kind of a trance, belive me, the bustle of present-day hampstead can easily be ignored.
anyone have a simliar time of it?
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Postby Steen » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:35 am

Well hopfuly when I got to winchester uni I will be able to walk the path he dreamed up "ode to autum" on...that would be nice.
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