Keats letter on sale

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Keats letter on sale

Postby toots » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:32 pm

I saw an article this morning in the Times (sorry, it's behind a paywall so can't post a link) saying that a note Keats wrote to Fanny in 1820 while at Wentworth Place is likely to fetch £120,000 at auction. It's a lovely letter, too, one in which he says he will kiss her name on the page and how good health will be his heaven and she his 'houri'.

I'd love to win the lottery and buy this manuscript, but still share something of Oscar Wilde's view when he wrote a poem on the auction of Keats' love letters in the 19th century and compared it to the soldiers dividing up Christ's robes by lot after the crucifixion.

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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Saturn » Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:16 pm

Recession? What recession...

It honestly disgusts me when people spend that amount of money on things like this. If an Academic institution or museum bids for it fair enough, but these private collectors and millionaires who buy pieces of art and literature for obscene prices like that are vulgar and show a complete lack of the value of money, or an object. Appalling, obscene, I'm fishing for a superlative that really captures my abhorrence for this vile trade, this overinflated millionaire art market but I can't find one. No piece of paper; not the Declaration Of Independence, not the Magna Carta, not a First Folio of Shakespeare is worth that amount of money.
The argument always is that something is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it, well I say to those that are prepared to pay hundreds of thousands, millions for an object, have you no shame?
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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Ennis » Fri Jan 28, 2011 4:31 pm

Oh, Saturn, how I agree with you!! That letter should be donated to the Keats's House!! I will admit, though, if I had that 35,000$ to buy that first addition of Taylor and Hessey's publication of Keats's 1820 Lamia . . . volume , I would.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Saturn » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:14 pm

Each to their own I suppose but I couldn't justify to myself spending that amount of money on something just because I wanted it, when that amount of money could help so many other people.
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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Raphael » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:27 pm

It's not so much the money but the fact his personal letters are at an AUCTION and not back in Keats House where they belong.


http://swns.com/john-keats-love-letter- ... 51158.html
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: Keats letter on sale

Postby Cybele » Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:17 am

Raphael wrote:It's not so much the money but the fact his personal letters are at an AUCTION and not back in Keats House where they belong.


http://swns.com/john-keats-love-letter- ... 51158.html


At the risk of sounding all manner of snarky -- did the person who wrote that piece know *anything* about Keats?

Written from Wentworth Place, only hours before he died, where he was worried about the contagious nature of his illness? Huh?

Grrr.
I shudder that this will be purchased by some ridiculously wealthy person who will regard it as just another object, a trophy, a status-enhancing knick-knack. Argh!

Those letters belong in a university collection, at the Keats House, or at the very minimum with family members who would cherish them.

(BTW, Saturn. Your rant was far better than mine.)
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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Raphael » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:49 am

At the risk of sounding all manner of snarky -- did the person who wrote that piece know *anything* about Keats?

Written from Wentworth Place, only hours before he died, where he was worried about the contagious nature of his illness? Huh?



Yes, Indeed. I think they suspected that TB might be contagious in the early 1800's (certainly the Italians did as they demanded all John's things be burnt after he passed)- but John and Fanny still kissed after his first haemorrhage as he mentions in one of his letters that her kiss was the sweetest yet, or something like that.

Grrr.
I shudder that this will be purchased by some ridiculously wealthy person who will regard it as just another object, a trophy, a status-enhancing knick-knack. Argh!

Those letters belong in a university collection, at the Keats House, or at the very minimum with family members who would cherish them.


Me too- and what if the buyer doesn't know how to take care of the letter and it deteriorates?! Really, I think historical documents like this should not be bought by private collecters- for conservation purposes they should only be "owned" by museums (of course I have no objections to such documents being in the hands of descendants if they are taking care of them properly) This should be against the law. He is one of the world's greatest poets and his letters are invaluable and precious.
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: Keats letter on sale

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:27 am

I so agree with many sentiments here. But did any of you consider that the buyer just might donate it to a University after the purchase? It has happened many times before. Perhaps such a situation will occur this time. Hey, I can always hope.

BTW, money is a strange thing. What is considered "waste" to some is considered "value" to others. In a sense, money is "person relative" and we all would handle it differently. But it does bother my personal sensitivities to see Keats's own letters spread to the winds by the highest bidder (unless, perhaps, that bidder were me). Though I appreciate the analogy to Christ's robe going to the highest bidder, the difference is that Christ's robe was sold (cast lots) as one piece - whole. It was not sold in pieces. I can't say the same for Keats's letters and poems.
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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Ennis » Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:55 pm

BrokenLyre wrote:I so agree with many sentiments here. But did any of you consider that the buyer just might donate it to a University after the purchase? It has happened many times before. Perhaps such a situation will occur this time. Hey, I can always hope.

BTW, money is a strange thing. What is considered "waste" to some is considered "value" to others. In a sense, money is "person relative" and we all would handle it differently. But it does bother my personal sensitivities to see Keats's own letters spread to the winds by the highest bidder (unless, perhaps, that bidder were me). Though I appreciate the analogy to Christ's robe going to the highest bidder, the difference is that Christ's robe was sold (cast lots) as one piece - whole. It was not sold in pieces. I can't say the same for Keats's letters and poems.


Despite the feelings of "others," if I had the money to spare and could well afford it, I would purchase at least a first edition Taylor and Hessey publication of Keats's 1820 volume - despite what others here may think of that. I am just as sympathetic to the plight(s) of the disadvantaged and the disenfranchised as others who have posted here, and I do agree with Brokenlyre; however, as selfish as it may seem to others, if I had the money I would spend it on a rare Keats. That doesn't negate my willingness to contribute to notable charities as well, if I was that wealthy. What in the world is wrong with satisfying a dream and helping others, as well?! Can the two actions not be compatible!?
Some folks need to dismount from their high horse of superiority (and condescension), and realize that "to each is own." This is, of course, my opinion and not an expectation that others do as I would.
I apologize if my tone offends anyone because I truly care for all the Keatsians who post on this site, but sometimes I infer (and most likely my inference is incorrect) that some posts reflect a "my way or no way" tone.
Oh, for those who may be interested, I contacted the Keats House about that letter and received a quick response from a Ms. Holly "Somebody." She said they were naturally aware of its auction status, and that they were desperately trying to raise the funds to purchase it for The House's collection of Keatsiana. I wish there was a way I could help (despite the fact that action may peg me as a selfish chit.).
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Keats letter on sale

Postby Raphael » Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:01 pm

I so agree with many sentiments here. But did any of you consider that the buyer just might donate it to a University after the purchase? It has happened many times before. Perhaps such a situation will occur this time. Hey, I can always hope.


I have been hoping this Broken Lyre.



Oh, for those who may be interested, I contacted the Keats House about that letter and received a quick response from a Ms. Holly "Somebody." She said they were naturally aware of its auction status, and that they were desperately trying to raise the funds to purchase it for The House's collection of Keatsiana. I wish there was a way I could help (despite the fact that action may peg me as a selfish chit.).



Have you got the contact Ennis? If I could donate something (though small it would be) I’d like to. I want his letter back where it belongs- Keats House!

I do agree with Brokenlyre; however, as selfish as it may seem to others, if I had the money I would spend it on a rare Keats. That doesn't negate my willingness to contribute to notable charities as well, if I was that wealthy. What in the world is wrong with satisfying a dream and helping others, as well?! Can the two actions not be compatible!?


Agreed- if I was a lottery winner, I would donate to charities, set up a little organic shop and employ worthy people, buy an 1800's house and donate to Keats House!
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: Keats letter on sale

Postby Cybele » Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:07 am

Hey, Ennis and others, I think my ire may very well have been directed toward those few very well-off folks who buy precious things just for the bragging rights. They infuriate me. (And I think I'm justified in my anger.)

If I had the money to buy the letter, would I? You bet I would! In a heartbeat! Then after a few hours basking in the presence of the letter, it would find a home at the Keats House or other institution where it would be safe.
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