Keats as a reader of Shakespeare

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

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Keats as a reader of Shakespeare

Postby fleshyniteshade » Sun Oct 30, 2005 12:23 pm

I was wondering in my city's library about a year ago and they have had this book at my city's library and I have to admit that book is hard for me to read (the writer is far too "scholarly" for me to have easy comprehension of the content) but I was wondering if anyone else has read this book or similar to.

I have to admit I only got to the 4th chapter but I was wondering if anyone read anything interesting about Keat's obsession with his poetry?
"aye, my envious dreams do shyly express thy tenderous lips fairly laced with sensous honey and I like aroused virgins dwell upon such dining"
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Postby Credo Buffa » Sun Oct 30, 2005 5:50 pm

I'm curious what specifically you read in this book? I'm not familiar with it, so I'd like to know what you learned from it :)

As for Keats's "obsession with his poetry," I don't really it's just his poetry, but poetry in general. . . He wrote that poetry was a necessary thing for him, and I think he meant both writing it and reading it. He was a poet who consciously developed his talent, so absorbing the works of others was an important means of improvement. It seems natural, then, that he would choose Shakespeare as a favorite. Shakespeare had that immortal place among the "English poets" that Keats wanted to achieve, so in addition to simply recognizing his genius and admiring it, I'm sure that Keats was, at the same time, studying him and trying to get inside his work in a way that would help himself grow as a poet.

I think that we can see this conscious effort at learning from his reading in his similarly idolizing Wordsworth, who was recognized as the greatest contemporary poet of the time. Like Shakespeare, Keats looked at Wordworth as someone in a position of poetic achievement that he desired.

So, I guess if you want to use the word obsessive, then I think it would be safe to say that Keats was obsessed with not just poetry, but poetic greatness. He wanted to be great, and he idolized those who were.
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Postby fleshyniteshade » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:54 pm

To be honest, I'm completely absent minded about what I did read (so hence my posting), and the only things I can actually remember is the opening about how Keats had a neckacle or locket or something of the sorts that was of Shakespeare (and a photo) and how we would write notes constantly in books and letters of his amazement of the man. I can't remember anything in any detail though. I know there was other books though about Shakespeare and Keats though. I need to go back and rent that book when I can. I have no car currently though :(
"aye, my envious dreams do shyly express thy tenderous lips fairly laced with sensous honey and I like aroused virgins dwell upon such dining"
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Postby Saturn » Tue Nov 01, 2005 11:21 pm

Here's some of Keats thoughts on Shakespeare for you to consider:

“Shakespeare doth scatter abroad on the winds of Passion, where the germs take buoyant root in stormy Air, suck up lightning sap, and become voiced dragons—self will and pride and wrath are taken at a rebound by his giant hand and mounted to the Clouds—there to remain and thunder evermore…”
Marginalia in Keats’ Shakespeare Folio, beside King Lear.

Shakespeare led a life of Allegory; his works are comments on it…

“I am convinced more and more every day that (excepting the human friend Philosopher) a fine writer is the most genuine Being in the WorldShakespeare and the paradise Lost every day become greater wonders to meI look upon fine Phrases like a Lover…”
To B. Bailey, 14th Aug, 1819.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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