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Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:25 pm
by Cath
Gentle readers,

Happy New Year everyone!

I thought you might like to know that a fragment of Keats's 'I Stood Tiptoe Upon A Little Hill' (1816), which previously belonged to Keats's school friend, Charles Cowden Clarke, will be auctioned later this year in London:

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/keats-poem-fragment-up-for-auction/story-fn3dxix6-1226549936058?sv=888d44fbbbd4e6344894ac3bd71adce8

You can see some pictures of the fragment manuscript here:
http://www.spearswms.com/spears-world/wire/42447/keats-lastknown-handwritten-poem-for-sale.thtml

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:30 am
by Ennis
Cath and all,

I e-mailed The House in Hampstead and asked if they, or the City of London, were going to post a bid. Hopefully they will, and hopefully they will be successful, as they were with Keats's letter to Fanny last March. As far as I'm concerned, that fragment shouldn't be auctioned but donated to The House - where it belongs; however, I suppose it's always about money. Heck, I'm all for Harvard donating its Keats's hoard to Hampstead as well. I know ALowell and FHolland-Day (and others, I'm sure) donated their collections to Harvard, but it doesn't seem right (to me) that all things Keatsian aren't in Hampstead where they belong!! It's ironic that Harvard has a larger Keats stash than London/Hampstead; it's almost blasphemous, in a way. Sure, Cambridge, Mass. is much closer to me than London, but when I see Keats stuff I'd prefer it to be where he would want it.
And shame on CCClarke and CABrown for cutting up the manuscripts they did and divvying them out as souvenirs! I can half understand why they did, but a big part of me believes that the act confirms little faith in Keats's after-fame. You would think the members of the Keats Circle would want to keep the original manuscripts of their "pet lamb (in a sentimental farce)" whole, together, and safe. Perhaps Dick Woodhouse was the only fore-sighted one of the bunch. I'm not too sure Keats would appreciate his manuscripts cut up and handed out as souvenirs; he certainly mentioned nothing about it in his pitiful will - just his books, and in perfect iambic pentameter (ever the poet!): "My chest of book divide among my friends." No mention of "cut up my manuscripts and hand them out to anyone who asks."

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:13 pm
by Raphael
As far as I'm concerned, that fragment shouldn't be auctioned but donated to The House - where it belongs; however, I suppose it's always about money. Heck, I'm all for Harvard donating its Keats's hoard to Hampstead as well. I know ALowell and FHolland-Day (and others, I'm sure) donated their collections to Harvard, but it doesn't seem right (to me) that all things Keatsian aren't in Hampstead where they belong!! It's ironic that Harvard has a larger Keats stash than London/Hampstead; it's almost blasphemous, in a way. Sure, Cambridge, Mass. is much closer to me than London, but when I see Keats stuff I'd prefer it to be where he would want it.


Totally agree- his manuscripts should be all be in Hampstead.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:35 am
by Cybele
About cutting up letters, etc.: this was a common practice in the 19th century. It wasn't neccessarily a good practice, but it was common enough.
Also, it wasn't just Amy Lowell et al. who gave stuff to Harvard. There was something called the "Speed Bequest" that sent some Keats material to Harvard. I assume that this was made up of a lot of items that had once belonged to George Keats and was passed down through his daughter's descendants. (Does anybody know anything more about this? BrokenLyre, how about you?)

I would prefer that all Keats material be somewhere safe, even if it's on this side of the Atlantic, rather than falling apart in someone's desk or dresser drawer like one fairly recently recovered letter. (It was a letter from John to Tom and was owned by some older lady who, while being a huge admirer of Keats, was embarrassed by its contents: the letter contained some mildly scatalogical humor.)

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:07 am
by Raphael
It was a letter from John to Tom and was owned by some older lady who, while being a huge admirer of Keats, was embarrassed by its contents: the letter contained some mildly scatalogical humor.



Didn't hear about this before. Which letter was it? Is it one published in any letter collections?

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:08 pm
by Ennis
[quote="Cybele"]About cutting up letters, etc.: this was a common practice in the 19th century. It wasn't neccessarily a good practice, but it was common enough.
Also, it wasn't just Amy Lowell et al. who gave stuff to Harvard. There was something called the "Speed Bequest" that sent some Keats material to Harvard. I assume that this was made up of a lot of items that had once belonged to George Keats and was passed down through his daughter's descendants. (Does anybody know anything more about this? BrokenLyre, how about you?)

I would prefer that all Keats material be somewhere safe, even if it's on this side of the Atlantic, rather than falling apart in someone's desk or dresser drawer like one fairly recently recovered letter. (It was a letter from John to Tom and was owned by some older lady who, while being a huge admirer of Keats, was embarrassed by its contents: the letter contained some mildly scatalogical humor.)[/quote

I, too, of course want all of it kept safe and together, but it still belongs in (to?) Hampstead. I don't doubt cutting up beloved manuscripts wasn't the norm, I just wish it hadn't been done.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 4:42 pm
by MrsRsCat
The anticipated price is £45,000.
Keats House says they can't afford it.
Rats.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:58 pm
by Raphael
Let's hope a kind and rich! collector buys it and donates it to Keats House....

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 1:16 am
by Ennis
MrsRsCat wrote:The anticipated price is £45,000.
Keats House says they can't afford it.
Rats.


Shit - enough "said."

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:48 am
by Malia
Raphael wrote:Let's hope a kind and rich! collector buys it and donates it to Keats House....


Yes, exactly! It should definitely go into a collection where it can be properly cared for and shared with the public and academics.
I feel sad that they don't have Keats manuscripts on display anymore at Keats House. They told me they were removed because of the many years that they were improperly displayed. :(

There is *nothing* like reading a Keats manuscript. The sense of presence, of history, of emotion. . .they just can't be conveyed the same way even in facsimile.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:07 pm
by Raphael
Malia wrote:
Raphael wrote:Let's hope a kind and rich! collector buys it and donates it to Keats House....


Yes, exactly! It should definitely go into a collection where it can be properly cared for and shared with the public and academics.
I feel sad that they don't have Keats manuscripts on display anymore at Keats House. They told me they were removed because of the many years that they were improperly displayed. :(

There is *nothing* like reading a Keats manuscript. The sense of presence, of history, of emotion. . .they just can't be conveyed the same way even in facsimile.


You'd have thought thei curator would have known how to care for old manuscripts, shame. I agree, original manuscripts have a special presence. I loved seeing the ones in the Bronte Parsonage. I highly recommend this house to Bronte fans. I went 2 years ago and was lucky that Emily's Piano has been restored and a pianist played it when I was there.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:35 pm
by Cath
That's a shame, if it's the case that Keats House in Hampstead can't afford it. I wonder whether the Keats-Shelley House in Rome would be interested in purchasing it? I fear they wouldn't have the financial resources to buy it, but it would be the next best option if the manuscript can't be added to the Hampstead collection.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:25 pm
by Raphael
It'll go to some rich person who likes the kudos of "owning" it and goodness knows how it'll be cared for.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:33 pm
by Ennis
MrsRsCat wrote:The anticipated price is £45,000.
Keats House says they can't afford it.
Rats.


I heard from Holly Booth, the "interpetation officer" at the Keats House on 31st January, and this was her response:

Dear Ennis,

Thank you for your email and for your continued Keats-related enthusiasm.

We are in the process of liaising with other public institutions and funding bodies to establish potential avenues of funding and to see who else might be interested in bidding. Obviously we would love to own this small manuscript, but there is a lot of planning to do before the auction. At the time of writing, the final decision has not yet been made.

Thank you again for your enthusiasm.

Kind regards, Holly.

Holly Booth
Interpretation Officer
Keats House
10 Keats Grove
Hampstead
NM3 2RR


So, there is some hope yet.

Re: Keats poem fragment up for auction

PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:20 am
by Raphael
Thanks for writing to Keats House Ennis. Keeping my fingers crossed.....