The Keats Circle

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

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The Keats Circle

Postby mevans » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:54 pm

Hello fellow Keats enthusiasts,

I am new to the forum but not new to John Keats. I was wondering if anyone has ever read or browsed through Keats Circle: Letters and Papersby Hyder Edward Rollins. I found it interesting that Professor Rollins did so much research and created a book in two volumes on the people who knew Keats.

It is out of print but I believe I can obtain a copy through my library's Interlibrary Loan department.


Thank you,

M. Evans
"And if thou wilt, remember,/And if thou wilt, forget." - Christina Rossetti
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby Raphael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:46 pm

Welcome! How are you? I haven't come across this book- is it good?
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby mevans » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:14 pm

I only came across it this morning and I found it so obscure I had to look it up in WorldCat. I work in a library so I have the great advantage of getting my hands on whatever books I like. Thanks for the welcome, I'm awfully glad to have found a place with people who are as passionate about Keats as I am. :D
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby Raphael » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:40 pm

I only came across it this morning and I found it so obscure I had to look it up in WorldCat. I work in a library so I have the great advantage of getting my hands on whatever books I like.


That's great- so you can tell us what good rare books are out there! I got a rare one by Guy Murchie, published in the 50s from Oxfam a few weeks ago.


Thanks for the welcome, I'm awfully glad to have found a place with people who are as passionate about Keats as I am. :D


I fully understand that! I was so pleased to find this forum too! I could talk about dear Junkets all day... :D
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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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:36 pm

Welcome mevan...glad to hear of your interest in Keats. I hope you find this forum helpful.

I actually have the "Keats Circle" by Rollins but I have the 1971 second edition, which I think is better anyway. It is two volumes in one slipcase. It is wonderful and covers letters to Keats and from Keats and among all his friends and acquaintances. It covers letters from 1814-1879. Oddly though, it doesn't include Brown's lovely letter of March (April) 1821. Other than that, it is pretty inclusive. I found it on eBay (like every thing else). Hope this helps.
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby mevans » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:50 am

Brokenlyre, I've noticed that many books that are about Keats or anthologize his work (poems,letters) are out of print. I'm sure this has to do with the amount of interest on Keats. I hope that the "Bright Star" film will create some sort of discourse and maybe old editions will be republished (I think someone spoke about this on a different thread). Isn't the Andrew Motion biography out of print already?

Thanks for the information on the Keats Circle books, I'll definitley look into them.
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby BrokenLyre » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:30 am

Yes, mevans, the Motion bio may be out of print now. But please know that among eBay, Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, AbeBooks etc... you can find virtually any Keats book you want (if you have the money of course). That is not to say that every book is currently available, but that over a year's time you will see hundreds that are. If I had more money to spend, I'd buy them all. :D

If you want to see a great Keats library,go to the University of North Carolina's Library where they have a listing of all the Keats works published since 1817. You can read the whole list of everything significant from Keats day onward. For example from 1876-1900 it lists the following on their website:(note the # of copies after the titles):

1876-1900
The Letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne (1878 Reeves & Turner) (1878 Scribner, Armstrong, NY)
Poetical Works & other Writings (1883 Reeves & Turner) - 4 vols. Edited by H Buxton Forman
Ode to a Nightingale (1884 PP) - 25 copies. Intro by T J Wise
Three Essays (1889 for PP distrib) - 50 copies
The Poems (1894 Kelmscott Press) - 307 copies
The Letters of John Keats (1895 Reeves & Turner) - edited by H Buxton Forman
Ode, Sonnets & Lyrics (1895 Daniel Press, Oxford) - 250 copies
Poems (1897 Bell) (1898 Bell 2nd Ed) - Robert Anning Bell
Isabella or The Pot of Basil (1898 Kegan Paul) - W B MacDougall
Eve of St Agnes (1900 Essex House Press) - 125 copies

Their list goes on and on....The point is that you can see what's "out there" from lists like the one from the University of North Carolina, and then find it on eBay etc.... if that is your interest. But alas, time and money are the limiting factors :)
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby Malia » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:55 pm

I agree with you about Abebooks, Amazon and all the online second-hand book retailers, Broken Lyre. Many of the books in my Keats collection came from those sources. A lot of those books are actually library stock. So the book might be obscure (in that no one would buy it at Barnes and Noble) but a library might have had it on their shelves for years and then decided to get rid of it when updating their stock. One book I have that I've been looking over lately is A Doctor's Life of John Keats (something close to that title. . .I'm still bleary-eyed this morning as I write! :lol: ) I bought it through a second-hand dealer on Amazon. It's not a great book, but it is obscure--and I saw last night it had a library stamp on the inside back cover from some University I've never heard of. Anyway, all that to say that Abebooks and Amazon are great starts to finding out of print books. My favorite Bio--John Keats the Making of a Poet by Aileen Ward--has been out of print for decades, but I see it on the secondhand book market often.
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby Raphael » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:00 pm

Malia wrote:

One book I have that I've been looking over lately is A Doctor's Life of John Keats (something close to that title. . .I'm still bleary-eyed this morning as I write! :lol: ) I bought it through a second-hand dealer on Amazon. It's not a great book, but it is obscure--and I saw last night it had a library stamp on the inside back cover from some University I've never heard of.



I am KICKING myself now, for I think the book you mention is the one that had been in Oxfam- it wasn't a thick book, largish size about his medical training. it was written inside by the Oxfam staff as "rare" and was around £15. I have been a bit broke lately so went before to see if they have it and to ask them to keep it for me til Monday and it's GONE!!!! :(
Well at least I got the Murchie one that is also rare there for £3.99. I love that one.I'm ordering the one by William Rossetti from Amazon on Monday. They had a link to see inside and I liked the subject topics. I'm interested in the Rossetti family (especially Gabriel Rossetti) anyway so it'd be nice to have this one.


Anyway, all that to say that Abebooks and Amazon are great starts to finding out of print books. My favorite Bio--John Keats the Making of a Poet by Aileen Ward--has been out of print for decades, but I see it on the secondhand book market often.


I borrowed that one from the library the other week. I like the writing style.
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: The Keats Circle

Postby Malia » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:37 pm

Hi Raphael,
The book I'm talking about is, I'm pretty sure, not the book you're thinking about. This one is a fairly poorly written "biography" about Keats written by a physician. Very little has to do with Keats's medical training. I could kick myself, though, as I saw such a book--about Keats's medical training--at Keats House and I *didn't* buy it! Grrr. . .
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby BrokenLyre » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:41 pm

Yes, friends, I know the feeling of missing an opportunity to buy a rare and delightful book....

But about the book "A Doctor's Life of John Keats", I found a copy on eBay about 1 year ago. It's the first edition, 1959, and not a library book. Clean and tight. Can't remember what I paid for it, however. Ebay has been a good resource for me - the problem is I get caught in bidding wars!

But if you don't have it, I highly recommend Tom Clark's book "Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats." You can find it many places and it's not expensive. It is so remarkable that it is hard to describe. (Just my own little, biased viewpoint :) )
It's by far my favorite book on Keats. Makes me want to write a poem (which is saying a lot).
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby Raphael » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:45 pm

Malia wrote:Hi Raphael,
The book I'm talking about is, I'm pretty sure, not the book you're thinking about. This one is a fairly poorly written "biography" about Keats written by a physician. Very little has to do with Keats's medical training. I could kick myself, though, as I saw such a book--about Keats's medical training--at Keats House and I *didn't* buy it! Grrr. . .



You are right, after me reading that description in detail! The one I saw had photos and drawings of places he had done his medical training in, lived in etc . I think it had some photos of his medical notes he made in his journal as well. I had alook through it a couple of times. And it had some descriptions of medical practises at that time. I was a bit put off by a whole chapter on his sex life and the VD discussions though- probably why I didn't buy it there and then- it seemed kind of disrespectful the way it was written.
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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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby Raphael » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:52 pm

BrokenLyre wrote:But if you don't have it, I highly recommend Tom Clark's book "Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats." You can find it many places and it's not expensive. It is so remarkable that it is hard to describe. (Just my own little, biased viewpoint :) )
It's by far my favorite book on Keats. Makes me want to write a poem (which is saying a lot).


I'm getting that SOON! :D
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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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby BrokenLyre » Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:33 am

Great! Tom Clark is filled with Keats's poems and letters. It is "deep calling unto deep" so to speak. His re-telling of Keats's life events in first person is moving and remarkable. I feel as though I am "hearing" Keats. There is a depth of indentification with Keats's poems, letters and his contextual life experiences - but they are all bound together and filtered by Clark's reflections all the while using Keats's words. I think it is powerful, though uncomfortable as Keats's poems and letters are disambiguated. It took awhile for me to adjust to Clark's style. There is nothing like it I guess.

I also have "Petitions for Immortality: Scenes from the life of John Keats" by Robert Cooperman, Higganum Hill Books, 2004.
This is another book of poems about Keats's life. I also enjoyed this but nowhere near as much as Clark. Beautifully written however - I just don't think it carries the emotive power that Tom Clark exhibits.

Just my take of course - others read things differently.
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: The Keats Circle

Postby mevans » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:31 pm

Oh dear, my list of books about Keats that I want has increased double since I've been visiting the forum. I shall have to take a second job or a loan in order to fulfil my wants!
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