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My Not-Quite-Blunden Edition of Keats

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 4:52 pm
by Andrew
Hi, everyone. I'm not sure whether new members are expected to introduce themselves, but let me in the meantime directly ask a question to start a discussion: What collection of Keats' work do you consider your main text?

I know the John Barnard Penguin has many admirers, and I've seen copies over here of the Oxford World's Classics paperback of The Major Works. Someday, I'll pick up a copy of either the Stillinger Collected Poems or the Complete Poems and Selected Letters introduced by Edward Hirsch.

Until then, I'm "making do" with the Rupa Classics edition my wife bought for me. At first glance, it looks like a generic reprint, something like the Wordsworth Poetry Library collection (these are nice and inexpensive, by the way; I have the Yeats volume which isn't complete, unfortunately, but nearly so). Turning to the cover page of my book, however, reveals that it is merely a collection of Selected Poems, albeit a significantly chunky one at around 350 pages.

The TOC is available at the bottom of this page, but if you have more complete collections, you can see some notable exclusions like "Three Sonnets On Woman," many of the "Posthumous and fugitive Poems," etc.

The selection is attributed ("Edited with an Introduction and Notes by") to Edmund Blunden. If you go to the Blunden site, however, the closest one gets to a Keats collection edited by Blunden would be the John Keats volume he wrote as part of the Writers and Their Works series (originally published in 1950 but reprinted several more times until 1966).

I looked that up and saw an eBay listing selling a revised 1959 edition, which indicated that this was merely a pamphlet of forty pages. That clearly wasn't this 400-page collection I own, except that I began to suspect that the fifty-page introduction in my book might just possibly be the entirety of Blunden's pamphlet. Not having a copy of the original, this is conjecture and guesswork only, but it's possible, I think. A bibliography at the end of my book only lists books up to 1968, which seems like another clue.

Which leaves the question: who put together this selection of Keats, that missed out a significant chunk of the "Posthumous and fugitive Poems" but grouped several poems under categories like "Odes, Lyrics and Songs" and "Reflective, Occasional and Humorous." There's also a section on "Sonnets" though the ones that first appeared in 1817 have their own section.


Can anyone verify any of these conjectures I'm making? Can anyone tell me who put together this collection of Keats, if it's not Blunden? And what do you suggest my complete Keats book should be? Stillinger? Barnard? Someone else?

Re: My Not-Quite-Blunden Edition of Keats

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 6:34 pm
by Cath
Welcome, Andrew! Always great to have a new "friend of Keats" on board :D .

I can't help you with the Rupa Classics edition - although it looks like a cheap knock-off. The eBay seller of the Blunden pamphlet says he is able to answer questions about it, so you could send him the first few lines of your Blunden introduction to see if it tallies.

I think the Stillinger edition is the most respected one - partly because of the more detailed notes, its academic reputation, and the fact that Barnard himself defers to it (and if I'm not mistaken Barnard has corrected some of his remarks made in his edition in a later book on Keats, which may suggest that his annotated edition is not quite as reliable (?).

See also the discussion here:
http://www.john-keats.com/phpboard/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=410&p=1509&hilit=barnard#p1509

Re: My Not-Quite-Blunden Edition of Keats

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 12:09 am
by Andrew
Thank you for the welcome, Cath, and for your response. It certainly does look like I'm going to pick up the Stillinger some time to get my complete Keats. This paperback I have will do for now, and I may write my own notes and annotations on it. Not implying that it'll be like the annotations of those scholars, of course: simply the notes of someone who loves reading Keats and who considers him, several centuries after, still a living influence on my own humble attempts at writing.

Re: My Not-Quite-Blunden Edition of Keats

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:30 pm
by Ennis
Andrew wrote:Thank you for the welcome, Cath, and for your response. It certainly does look like I'm going to pick up the Stillinger some time to get my complete Keats. This paperback I have will do for now, and I may write my own notes and annotations on it. Not implying that it'll be like the annotations of those scholars, of course: simply the notes of someone who loves reading Keats and who considers him, several centuries after, still a living influence on my own humble attempts at writing.


It's always a thrill to receive new Keatsians into our "little" 21st century Keats Circle. Welcome, Andrew! I hope to read more from you soon.
By the way, I agree with the Stillinger version.

Re: My Not-Quite-Blunden Edition of Keats

PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:13 pm
by Raphael
Welcome Andrew!