The 'Currently reading' thread...

Discussion of other topics not necessarily Keats or poetry-related, i.e. other authors, literature, film, music, the arts etc.

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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:49 am

I finally picked up "Romantic Medicine and John Keats" by Hermione de Almeida. I have waited for about 10 years for this one to pop up at an affordable rate. Signed by the author too. Cool. What an eye opener to read her research. Remarkable connections between the poems and the medicine that Keats practiced and understood. But I have no time to read it now.... arrrrggg...work interferes....
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cath » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:48 pm

"The Immortal Dinner" is also great for learning more about Joseph Ritchie, who a few months after the dinner was to embark on an expedition to Timbuktu to find the course of the River Niger and learn more about the conditions endured by the slaves there. The picture she is painting of Keats and Richie suggests they understood each other kindly and instinctively. Richie had a vague acquaintance with Tom Keats and asked after him.

I visited Haydon's house at 116 Lisson Grove last year, too. No kidding that the streets have changed since then - I could barely concentrate for the roar of traffic on Marylebone Road and the Tesco shoppers hurrying by :roll: . Not easy to get the early 19th century vibe there :lol: .

Raphael wrote: What was the quote?"


I've still got 80 pages to go, but I'll take a stab in the dark. Hughes-Hallett writes below Haydon's sketch of Keats: "After the poet's death Haydon added the inscription: 'Keats was a spirit that in passing over the Earth came within its attraction and expired in fruitless struggles to make its dull inhabitants comprehend the beauty of his soarings'" (p. 194). What say thee BrokenLyre?

BrokenLyre wrote: I finally picked up "Romantic Medicine and John Keats" by Hermione de Almeida."


Ooh, I hadn't heard of that one - sounds interesting. Another one to add to the list!
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Raphael » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:28 pm

I visited Haydon's house at 116 Lisson Grove last year, too. No kidding that the streets have changed since then - I could barely concentrate for the roar of traffic on Marylebone Road and the Tesco shoppers hurrying by :roll: . Not easy to get the early 19th century vibe there :lol: .


Might have known Tescos would invade the area..... :evil: What area of London is Haydon's house?


Raphael wrote: What was the quote?"


I've still got 80 pages to go, but I'll take a stab in the dark. Hughes-Hallett writes below Haydon's sketch of Keats: "After the poet's death Haydon added the inscription: 'Keats was a spirit that in passing over the Earth came within its attraction and expired in fruitless struggles to make its dull inhabitants comprehend the beauty of his soarings'" (p. 194). What say thee BrokenLyre?



I think that is very poetical and fitting of Haydon to say that- great words. I bet Broken Lyre will agree with me on this!


I finally picked up "Romantic Medicine and John Keats" by Hermione de Almeida."


Sounds interesting Broken Lyre.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cath » Fri Mar 16, 2012 2:38 pm

Raphael wrote: What area of London is Haydon's house?"


It's to the west of Regent's Park near the Marylebone district of Westminster and not too far from Baker Street. Wikipedia has some fascinating details on the area around Haydon's lodgings, which was semi-rural when Keats was alive but became one of the capital's worst slums when engulfed by the expanding city during the later 19th century:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisson_Grove

Penelope Hughes-Hallett contacted the current owner to see inside the property and describes her experience of its interior in her book.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Mar 16, 2012 6:21 pm

Hey Cath,
BrokenLyre saith, "YES" to your quote from Haydon. You are on top of it, friend. Thus, I agree with you too Raphael :D

Keats was a spirit that in passing over the Earth came within its attraction and expired in fruitless struggles to make its dull inhabitants comprehend the beauty of his soarings'" (p. 194).


I love that quote for so many reasons. The astronomical metaphor (referencing a comet), the brevity of the interaction with earth ("passing over"), the "attraction" language, the term "expired" with it's poetic and physiological connections, the "fruitless struggles" (as it apparently seemed in his day to the critics), the height and plurality of his "soarings" (variously understood), the inability for many people to "comprehend the beauty" of his work, the earth's "dull inhabitants" - all make this a remarkable quote. I especially love the perspective of this - seeing it from the viewpoint of the "spirit" of Keats above the earth. Reminds me of the the line in the movie "Bright Star" when Brown says to Keats, "You are so far above me."
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Ennis » Sun Mar 18, 2012 7:05 pm

BrokenLyre wrote:I finally did it - bought The Keats Brothers. It was a gift from a friend of mine.

The author, Denise Gigante, is a wonderful writer. As a professor of English at Stanford University, she clearly knows what's she's doing. Though I have read only a little of her book, I am happy to say that her research and active, sympathetic mind makes for a lively, involved prose. This is no sterile academic book. She immediately draws the reader into her world as she tells the story of the Keats brothers. In fact, as I finished the very first paragraph of the Prologue, I found myself holding back tears and got choked up, due to the intensely beautiful way she captured one particular moment - a moment that summarizes the tragic and beautiful life of John with his brothers. Remarkable writer that possesses a very human, personal, and aesthetic touch with her words. She paints wonderful word pictures and I hope the book continues like this.

There are 40 pages of pictures and drawings in the book. Pictures I have never seen. Her fascination with Keats is clear in the book. I hope I can now find the time to read ( while I am still trying to finish Plumly's book).

Cost was $35.00 US dollars. Got it cheaper from Barnes & Noble due to my membership. ($21.00). Anyone else read this?



Brokenlyre,

I have, but it was right after it came out. I ordred it from Barnes and Noble. My problem is that I read books about Keats so quickly, I sometimes have to take notes, so I'm not sure I can carry on a decent converstion with you! :D
Looking so forward to this summer, if we are still on.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cath » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:10 pm

Next up:

Image

I'm ashamed to say I own more Holmes than I've read, so I'm attempting to rectify that with his first volume on Coleridge. When I visited the Keats-Shelley House in Italy last autumn, one of the guides there mentioned that she was touched by Coleridge's life and what she saw as his unfulfilled promise resulting from his opium addiction. So I'm excited to learn more.

Does anyone believe Holmes will get around to writing a tome on Keats at some point? Perhaps he thinks Keats has been covered so often by biographers and it would be difficult to top the three "classics" which appeared in the 1960s? If you're reading Mr. Holmes: Re-consider! We can never have too many Keats biographies :lol: !
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:04 pm

Oh you must, Mr Holmes, please; it could well be the definitive Keats biography; if anyone can really bring us the real Keats, it's Holmes.

You must read the follow up too, Darker Reflections straight after Cath, it actually puts paid to the erroneous notion that Coleridge was effectively finished by 1800, that his opium addiction ruined his mind. It is the heartbreaking story of a genius' struggle against addiction and loss; and in fact some of his greatest works of prose and some remarkable poems were written after he was supposedly in the wilderness.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cath » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:18 pm

I'd also be interested to see what Peter Ackroyd comes up with in a biography of Keats (as opposed to literary fiction on Keats).

@ Saturn: I forgot to mention that I made it through the two Holmes biographies on Coleridge, or "STC" as he liked to be known. The second one impressed me more than the first, which I found quite forensic and "distant" in its approach. I like to be emotionally involved by the author in the life I am reading, as in Aileen Ward's biography of Keats, and Darker Reflections was better on this score. It was saddening: the alienation from the ever-more conservative Wordsworth, perennially concerned about his reputation; the years lost to an addiction he couldn't shake; and the unfulfilled love - or adoration - for Asra. The growing eccentricity and foibles of his delightful son, Hartley, provided some comic relief.

After I finished the two books, I visited 3, The Grove in Highgate from the outside (now owned by a new addict - allegedly! - Kate Moss). Coleridge would have had a great, calming view of the Highgate countryside from his room on the second-floor at the back.

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Re:

Postby Cath » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:44 pm

I've barely looked at a book since last Tuesday when I read a bit of William Blake - keep meaning to get back to it but it all seems pointeless - why read?"


Ah, that puts me in mind of a saying by Gustave Flaubert, with which I wholeheartedly agree:

"Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live."
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 10, 2012 10:42 pm

Doesn't everyone just wish that the day was twice as long, in order to have time to do stuff we enjoy like reading, and just having time to reflect on life, the universe and everything? Life is so hectic for the vast majority of people time just slips down the drain, is washed away by the tide, the massy weight of just getting through the day with all that needs to be done.

Anyway I haven't bought any new books but finished reading the other week Charles Nicholl's excellent investigative masterpiece 'The Reckoning' about the death of Christopher Marlowe.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Raphael » Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:59 am

Doesn't everyone just wish that the day was twice as long, in order to have time to do stuff we enjoy like reading, and just having time to reflect on life, the universe and everything? Life is so hectic for the vast majority of people time just slips down the drain, is washed away by the tide, the massy weight of just getting through the day with all that needs to be done.


Too true...but then many people spend too much time staring at the goggle box!

Anyway I haven't bought any new books but finished reading the other week Charles Nicholl's excellent investigative masterpiece 'The Reckoning' about the death of Christopher Marlowe.


Did he have a mysterious death?
I am reading a novel about Charles Dickens at the mo
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: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Wed Apr 11, 2012 7:31 am

He did indeed have a mysterious death, being stabbed in the eye in a tavern at Deptford by a fellow spy, for what reason will never be known.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cath » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:34 pm

Saturn wrote:Doesn't everyone just wish that the day was twice as long, in order to have time to do stuff we enjoy like reading, and just having time to reflect on life, the universe and everything? Life is so hectic for the vast majority of people time just slips down the drain, is washed away by the tide, the massy weight of just getting through the day with all that needs to be done.


Of course. Even if you don't join the facebook-twitter-iphone bandwagon, you are still being bombarded with images, news flashes, music arranged by laptop prgrammes, the screens of self-check-out machines, and so on, which demand your attention, and in doing so shorten attention spans, and take you further away from your self. Living in London ten years ago, I hardly had any time to myself, I was either working, going to and from work, or sleeping so that I had the energy the next day to do it all over again. Almost no time whatsoever was left over to pay attention to the inner life, to read, think, and dream in depth. It was crushed. I think a lot of people - perhaps even more so if you have the additional responsibility of a family to provide for - feel the grinding drugery of daily life and the "gap in the soul" that it leaves behind.

I don't know whether any of you saw the Will Self article in The Guardian a week or two ago. He was talking about how we have become divorced from the act of walking by taking the tube, bus or train everywhere - even short distances. The act - or art - of walking aids the natural flow of thoughts. Not only are we cutting this off, we are also becoming increasingly alienated from our surroundings as a result, unable to orientate ourselves without technology and refusing to use our own sight, sound or smell to find our way anymore. The idea of a Keatsian walking tour would seem absurd, even preposterous, to many people nowadays, especially city-dwellers I imagine.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cath » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:35 pm

The Christopher Marlowe book sounds very interesting, by the way.
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