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Keats Talk at Keats House

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:54 pm
by ColSilver
I attended a talk by David Pollard at Keats House in Hampstead on Saturday 9th February, 2013, and thought I would post a brief account for anyone who is interested. There's a small conference room at the back of the house, overlooking the famous Nightingale garden, and that's where the event took place. Here's David Pollard's profile on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Pollard/e/B0071IRBNI

David Pollard did his doctoral thesis on "The Poetry of Keats: Language and Experience" and this is what he talked about on Saturday. The gist of it as I understood it was that poetry comes from Silence, that is to say, that language is just a sort of mediator, that the true poet finds expression in his inner self and communicates it when he is "moodless" - this is akin to Keats' Negative Capability and is expressed very well in the Ode on Indolence. (He read from the Cave of Quietude section in Endymion to emphasise the point.) The true poet's productions are eternal and perfect in a Platonic way, but he emphasised that he did not consider Keats to be a mystic. When Keats wrote about the Grecian Urn, he renounced the urn of his imagination and let it speak for itself. He had a lot to say about other great writers and philosophers, that he thought Milton and Tennyson used language as a tool (unlike Keats who used it as mediation). He said Keats was a great thinker, as are, of course, the very best writers and philosophers. There's no doubt he thinks Keats was unusual and special, both as an intellect and as a person.

David Pollard's interests (and books) are very wide ranging and he pulled a lot of other people and subjects into the talk, especially when answering questions at the end. He talked for about 20 minutes or so and then there was about half an hour of questions, most of them about Keats' Negative Capability, etc. There was a also a question from a young student, and then a brief discussion, about Haydon's love of the Elgin Marbles and his influence upon Keats (the subject of my own book). I'd say there were about 60 people there of all ages and types - some older people, several young people, students, etc., but everybody very keen and interested in Keats.

It was a very pleasant day out, and (all being well) I shall be looking forward to more events at Keats House in the future.

Re: Keats Talk at Keats House

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 3:22 am
by Raphael
Thanks for that. Lucky you going to that! Not ever been to the House.

Re: Keats Talk at Keats House

PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:46 pm
by BrokenLyre
Thanks ColSilver for that report. I am extremely envious of your opportunities to go to Keats House. I have never been there - too costly from NY. But I dream of it.
Thanks for sharing with us!