Random Keats Questions

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

Moderators: Saturn, Malia

Random Keats Questions

Postby Malia » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:09 am

Hi all :)
I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to extremely random and/or befuddling Keats questions. I have one type of each to share with you!

1. Random Keats Question:
In one of his letters, Keats wrote that he'd been invited to a party to keep Shakespeare's birthday and that "Shakespeare would stare to see me there." My question to you is:
What kind of staring would this be, do you think? A shocked stare? Aghast? Confused? Surprised? Amused? How *would* Shakespeare respond to Keats? What do you think they would say to one another upon first acquaintance--if they were to meet at a party?

2. Befuddling Keats Question:
I have tried to figure out what the following quote means, but I *still* don't exactly understand what Keats is talking about. Can anyone help me better understand the following quote?
In a letter to Benjamin Bailey, 10 June 1818, Keats writes: "Were it in my choice I would reject a petrarchal coronation, on account of my dying day and because women have Cancers."

If anyone else has random or befuddling Keats questions, please post them :)
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:14 am

1 - I think Shakespeare would be like a kindly Uncle to Keats, welcoming and approving - his stare would be sur[rise but delight :D

2 - I've always had problems with that quote - I'm certain it doesn't mean what it literally says, but beyond that I'm as miffed as you Malia :roll:
Last edited by Saturn on Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Re: Random Keats Questions

Postby dks » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:39 pm

Malia wrote:Hi all :)
I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to extremely random and/or befuddling Keats questions. I have one type of each to share with you!

1. Random Keats Question:
In one of his letters, Keats wrote that he'd been invited to a party to keep Shakespeare's birthday and that "Shakespeare would stare to see me there." My question to you is:
What kind of staring would this be, do you think? A shocked stare? Aghast? Confused? Surprised? Amused? How *would* Shakespeare respond to Keats? What do you think they would say to one another upon first acquaintance--if they were to meet at a party?

2. Befuddling Keats Question:
I have tried to figure out what the following quote means, but I *still* don't exactly understand what Keats is talking about. Can anyone help me better understand the following quote?
In a letter to Benjamin Bailey, 10 June 1818, Keats writes: "Were it in my choice I would reject a petrarchal coronation, on account of my dying day and because women have Cancers."

If anyone else has random or befuddling Keats questions, please post them :)


I agree with you, Saturn. I think Will would certainly take to Keats--he would assuredly enjoy his sense of humor and keen wit.
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Postby dks » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:46 pm

Oh the befuddling Keats question...well, he could be talking about Petrarch's undying love for an unattainable woman he hardly knew...and that maybe stirred Keats's own "talismanic" fascination with the Vauxhaull woman--and maybe he'd shun such a laurel endowment--as Petrarch was given (though while he was still living) also play on Petrarch's ideal love's name "Laura"--hence the "laurel" crown--recognized as the poet who does nothing but seek out his Laura...and Keats is saying, in spite, that women have cancers...like a feeding agent on the poet--since all Petrarch could do was pine for his Laura (or critics also think he's equivocating--meaning Laura or laurel crown, or poetic achievement)...

Just a guess...
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:45 pm

Very interesting dks - I know the theory that Laura was a metaphor for Petrarch's love of poetic fame but am not one of it's adherents - a man who can write hundreds of poems on the subject of one woman being simply lusting after poetic fame?

Pah!!:roll:

I think that in this case perhaps Keats is almost saying that it is pointless to strive for poetic fame and the laurels as in any case he will die with perhaps his ambitions unfulfilled. It may be a defeatist statement.

On the other hand it has just struck me that this may be a covert reference to the embrassement he felt at the 'crowning' incident where Keats and Hunt were crowning each other with laurels when the Reynolds[?] sisters happened upon them and Keats was so mortified or stubborn that he kept the 'crown' firmly on his head.

'Tis a mystery...
Last edited by Saturn on Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby dks » Tue Apr 18, 2006 9:59 pm

Saturn wrote:Very interesting dks - I know the theory that Laura was a metaphor for Petrarch's love of poetic fame but am not one of it's adherents - a man who can write hundreds of poems on the subject of one woman being simply lusting after poetic fame?

Pah!!:roll:

I think that in this case perhaps Keats is almost saying that it is pointless to strive for poetic fame and the laurels as in any case he will die with perhaps his ambitions unfulfilled. It may be a defeatist statement.

On the other hand it has just struck me that this may be a covert reference to the embrassement he felt at the 'crowning' incident where Keats and Hunt were crowning each other with laurels when the Reynolds[?] sisters happened upon them and Keats was so mirtified or stubborn that he kept the 'crown' firmly on his head.

'Tis a mystery...


oooh...yes...that sounds right--the crowning incident--he wrote about it, wasn't it the Reynolds sisters? I agree with you about Petrarch- I love him, personally--I mean any man who will climb a mountain because it's there? He was a man! And his passion for his fair Laura is deeply moving, if you ask me.
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:22 pm

1. It would certainly be helpful here to know a bit more about Shakespeare's character in order to speculate how he might react to being in the same room with Keats. Supposing right now, in the great beyond, the two were to bump into each other, I would imagine that Shakespeare might feel a bit humbled if he knew what an inspiration and influence he was on Keats's development as a poet, and knowing that his own work was so instrumental in nurturing another great poet. At least that's what one would hope that he would think :wink:

2. My guess is as good as any of yours, though I agree that's it's probably not meant as maliciously as it might at first appear. I tried to look into the etymology of "cancers" just to get a hint of what Keats might have been thinking on using that word, and it occurs to me that he might have been using a blunt, harsh word for a less harsh idea. "Cancer" for him probably was referring to an infection that gradually spreads and decays. . . and we all know that Keats would not be the first to describe a feeling of lust or love as a sickness that takes over one's senses :wink:
"Holy Kleenex, Batman! It was right under our nose and we blew it!"
User avatar
Credo Buffa
Lamia
 
Posts: 935
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:42 am
Location: Minnesota

Postby Saturn » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:00 am

Anothyer point is that Keats; as we know, was a medical student so he wouldn't just throw out a word like cancer unless it meant something in particular - he knew the potency of that word.

Today we talk of The Big 'C', but imagine back then how terrifying and totally incurable something like cancer must have been :shock:
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:41 pm

They probably wouldn't have even known what they were looking at. Not that I know anything about medical history, but I guess I typically think of cancer as being a very 20th/21st century illness, largely a side-effect of all the inorganic things we expose ourselves to. That could be completely wrong, but I've got to believe that even if we could actually have stats on how many people in Keats's day would have died of cancer, they'd probably pale in comparison to today's numbers.
"Holy Kleenex, Batman! It was right under our nose and we blew it!"
User avatar
Credo Buffa
Lamia
 
Posts: 935
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2005 1:42 am
Location: Minnesota

Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:42 pm

Credo Buffa wrote: Not that I know anything about medical history, but I guess I typically think of cancer as being a very 20th/21st century illness, largely a side-effect of all the inorganic things we expose ourselves to.


I do, too, Credo. We are on the verge of an environmental train wreck if some things don't change...cancer rates have abounded in the last 50 or 60 years--ever since Hiroshima, really.

I'm not exactly sure how much of a force cancer was in the 19th century...but we could probably bet that with all the coal burning and early industrial surroundings, they had their fair share of the disease, as well.
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Re: Random Keats Questions

Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:00 pm

Malia wrote:Hi all :)
I thought it would be nice to have a thread dedicated to extremely random and/or befuddling Keats questions. I have one type of each to share with you!


I have a random question...don't think me strange :oops: ...I just have always wondered this:

What do you think Keats's voice sounded like? Do you think it was sort of high-pitched (given his height)? or low pitched? I imagine him having a hearty laugh...he was passionate about everything he did--and I can see him reveling in a joke with the best of them.
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Re: Random Keats Questions

Postby Malia » Wed Apr 19, 2006 5:16 pm

I have a random question...don't think me strange :oops: ...I just have always wondered this:

What do you think Keats's voice sounded like? Do you think it was sort of high-pitched (given his height)? or low pitched? I imagine him having a hearty laugh...he was passionate about everything he did--and I can see him reveling in a joke with the best of them.


There are no strange questions! (Just strange people :lol:) Actually, I've thought of that one myself more than once. From what I know of what *others* have said about Keats (i.e. Severn, Woodhouse, etc.) Keats had a low voice--not bass, but probably baratone. No one who has spoken of how he sounded ever said he had a high voice. Severn said once that Keats helped Severn relieve Miss Cotterell of her fainting spells by speaking in 'basso relievo' which I take to mean, in a low tone.

Considering the shape of his face--his larger nose signals to me that he'd have more space in his sinuses for sound to resonate. Generally, people with larger noses have lower voices. (Well, that's what I've been told, anyway! ;))
Stay Awake!
--Anthony deMello
User avatar
Malia
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 1606
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:55 am
Location: Washington State, USA

Re: Random Keats Questions

Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:32 pm

Severn said once that Keats helped Severn relieve Miss Cotterell of her fainting spells by speaking in 'basso relievo' which I take to mean, in a low tone.

Considering the shape of his face--his larger nose signals to me that he'd have more space in his sinuses for sound to resonate. Generally, people with larger noses have lower voices. (Well, that's what I've been told, anyway! ;))


Thank you, Malia. You have just added chock volumes to my imagination...now I can dream of Keats speaking to me in 'basso relievo'....*SIGH* :)
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Postby Saturn » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:26 pm

Funny, I always imagined him having a somewhat high-pitched, almost feminine voice :roll:

What I wonder also is did he have a Cockney accent, a really broad London accent, or a more "refined" Home-Counties RE accent?
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Saturn
Forum Administrator
 
Posts: 3939
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby dks » Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:30 pm

Saturn wrote:Funny, I always imagined him having a somewhat high-pitched, almost feminine voice :roll:

What I wonder also is did he have a Cockney accent, a really broad London accent, or a more "refined" Home-Counties RE accent?


Oh buh, technicalities--does it matter? He had an accent !*lashes batting* *SIGH* :lol: :lol:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
User avatar
dks
Dante
 
Posts: 1469
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 am
Location: Texas

Next

Return to Life and Letters

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest