Cowden Clarke's letter

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

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Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Jupiter » Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:26 pm

While searching some random biographical detail about Keats, I came across this article

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/article6940404.ece

and since I haven't seen any previous references to it on the forum I thought I might post it.

Apparently there was a letter attributed to Charles Cowden Clarke, Keats's former schoolmaster, which was printed five months after Keats's death, in which the author, signing as 'Y' gives an account of Keats's reaction to the criticism leveled at him by Gifford, Croker and other detractors. I was particularly impressed by the tone of solidarity and sympathy in the letter, whether it was Cowden Clarke or not, it is obvious he cared deeply for Keats and that we was very much saddened by his suffering and misfortune.

Your thoughts?
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Re: Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Raphael » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:04 pm

Thanks for that.It's hard to know how deeply dear John was hurt by the nasty reviews on Endymion and the first book of poems that were published.I think he was strong and he understood how the literary magazines had power over the public.They certainly ruined his reputation.If he had lived longer I'm sure he could have proved them wrong and become widely respected.I think he knew that too. It was believed back then that powerful emotions ( usually of a sexual nature) caused Consumption- it had a kind of stigma attached to it. Perhaps his friends thought it served his memory more respectfully for his illness to have been caused by cruel reviews of a young genius than of his passion for a woman.
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: Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Raphael » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:20 pm

[banned member] wrote:It is staggering to think Raphael that it was believed then that "powerful emotions" - of course of a sexual nature - might be the cause of consumption. Do you think the medical profession merely perpetrated this myth as a means of controlling the 'excesses' of the 'lower orders', or did these educated men actually believe this themselves? Yes, I'm aware that when people are in close proximity with one another infections do have a tendency to spread but still, "powerful emotions" :!: Very strange.


I expect it was both- that they might have half believed it and by their prudishness and hypocrosies convinced themselves it was true. Perhaps they thought it might act as a deterrant to passionate young people if they thought they would contract Consumption if they expressed themselves. All manner of odd attitudes towards sex abounded in the 1800s ( in the Victorian era at its worst)- that masturbation would blind you, that it sapped your energy if you were male- which led to circumcising little boys to stop them self pleasuring! For all the laddettes and leery lad culture we have now we should at least be glad of our sexual freedoms today.
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: Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Saturn » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:29 pm

There are places in the world, and people that still believe all those old nonsensical ideas sadly.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Re: Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Raphael » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:51 pm

[banned member] wrote:I always understood (believed) that male circumcision was an act performed for reasons of cleanliness and therefore might help prevent the spread of infection. This, 'behind' its various cultural significances, I thought was its purpose. (Clearly, regular bathing is as effective.) I had no idea about its being an attempt to limit masturbation in boys. I am aware though, that as we write, there are areas of the world where some of the most atrocious acts of savagery are perpetrated against young girls for no other reason than to prevent women from enjoying sex. What amazed me Raphael was that it was good old Blighty - and less than two hundred years ago - that revelled in this particular myth about 'powerful emotions' and consumption.


Bathing is very effective! :lol: That Kellogg bloke promoted it as a punishment for boys- for daring to self pleasure themselves- he wrote the most vitriolic admonishments against pleasure and sex. I don't know if he truly believed self pleasuring would actually blind or weaken you- but he cited it as a casue of all sorts of conditions especially mental illnesses. It is astonishing the attitudes they had back then.
There was a book by some c.17th duffer called Burton- who taught sex marriage and passion were dangerous to health. And guess who used to read it? :wink: And apparently he showed it to his fiancee! She should have told him to toss it in the fire.
The only merit that was in it seemed to be the promotion of vegeterian diet as good for health ( which they are if balanced).
But perhaps I'm being mean- I only know what's in it by quotes- perhaps it had some merits. It is easy to look down our c.20th/21st century noses at earlier scholars/medical people!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anatomy_of_Melancholy


http://www.nybooks.com/shop/product?usc ... oduct_id=2

http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/10800
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: Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Raphael » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:14 pm

[banned member] wrote:Great post Raphael. Very apt seeing as 'beriahmk' had posted - under the title of "The Facts about your moods or depressions"- some porn spam directly beneath this particular topic! In the light of poor old Saturn's response to Steffen in the "Where's the Poet..." Forum, I am beginning to understand what a labour of love running a site such as this is.



Don't read the spam Peter! Ignore it- it might carry a virus....

Yes, Saturn has his work cut out!
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: Cowden Clarke's letter

Postby Raphael » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:45 pm

[banned member] wrote: There again, cynic that I am, I wonder just how much of this crud they actually believed? (Particularly in Kellogg's case.) Or rather, did they really give a damn about the human race? Was it, shall we say, 'my career', etc, etc.


I don't they gave a damn really- they were cruel.
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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