Living In Keats' Time

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: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:51 pm

Raphael wrote:No but there is nothing "romantic" about this century at all.

I don't think I'd necessarily say that there's nothing romantic to find in our current day and age. I was contemplating this topic a bit more yesterday afternoon and considered that one of the other great advantages we have now--while the side effects on natural resources may be unfortunate--is the opportunity for travel. If we think of Keats' travel to Italy, for example, it was probably a rare few people who got to experience such a far-flung journey. And just think, apart from his being ill at the time, what toil that trip was! Today, I can hop on a plane here in the central US and be in Rome in less than half a day. The idea that you could, on a whim, jet off to anyplace you can think of is, I think, very romantic. There is inherent in that idea a possibility of making dreams a reality that didn't really exist, or at least for the vast majority of people, in earlier times.

Raphael wrote:
Cybele wrote:Of course, there's no good reason we can't indulge ourselves nowadays with such things. Alas, we seldom bother.


I wish I could find a circle of friends who would like to spend evenings this way- but alas! I cannot- they are always too busy! Doing what I ask you? Watching TV I suppose.If I could be transported back in time I might be sorely tempted despite the downsides.

I'm fortunate to have a close circle of friends who make spending such evenings a priority. We get together for what are often touted as "movie nights" that more often than not are centered on conversation than anything else. We've finally realized this and organized knitting parties instead when we can simply sit down, drink tea, and talk for hours on end. I often reflect on how fortunate I am to have that in my life, considering that it does seem to be such a rarity in this fast-paced world in which we now live. It seems that when people get together these days, it always has to be surrounding some event: a birthday, a holiday, a celebration of some kind. There really is no reason that we can't simply spend time with others simply for the sake of sharing good company.
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Malia » Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:06 pm

You are truly blessed to have such a great group of friends, Credo. How wonderful to be able to just sit and *be* and converse with friends. In my world, most of my friends live far away and are always extremely busy with their lives. I see my brother and sister-in-law fairly often, but with a 1-1/2 year old running around, life for them is anything but placid! :lol:

When I was living with mom and dad to save some money, I used to make tea and scones for mom and our elderly neighbor, Mrs. Parkinson. We got into the habit of having tea together every Saturday, which was so peaceful and a very special time. What I'd give to be able to have a regular tea with friends again.
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Cybele » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:53 am

Malia wrote:You are truly blessed to have such a great group of friends, Credo. How wonderful to be able to just sit and *be* and converse with friends. In my world, most of my friends live far away and are always extremely busy with their lives. I see my brother and sister-in-law fairly often, but with a 1-1/2 year old running around, life for them is anything but placid! :lol:

When I was living with mom and dad to save some money, I used to make tea and scones for mom and our elderly neighbor, Mrs. Parkinson. We got into the habit of having tea together every Saturday, which was so peaceful and a very special time. What I'd give to be able to have a regular tea with friends again.


These moments are to be savored and treasured! We all have too few of these moments nowadays!
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Raphael » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:35 pm

Today, I can hop on a plane here in the central US and be in Rome in less than half a day. The idea that you could, on a whim, jet off to anyplace you can think of is, I think, very romantic. There is inherent in that idea a possibility of making dreams a reality that didn't really exist, or at least for the vast majority of people, in earlier times.




Credo, I'm not seeing the connection between air travel ( which to be fair is causing global warming and damage to this planet) and Romance. I was thinking more of heartfelt love letters like John's, real friendship, loyalty...etc...etc..

And the atmosphere of a parlour like one in Wentworth Place- the sound of the crackle of the fire, the sighing of the wind outside, the flickering of the candle light and the ticking of the clock.


I'm fortunate to have a close circle of friends who make spending such evenings a priority. We get together for what are often touted as "movie nights" that more often than not are centered on conversation than anything else. We've finally realized this and organized knitting parties instead when we can simply sit down, drink tea, and talk for hours on end. I often reflect on how fortunate I am to have that in my life, considering that it does seem to be such a rarity in this fast-paced world in which we now live.



I have not had such nights since I was at university- student life lended itself to such activities and gatherings.


It seems that when people get together these days, it always has to be surrounding some event: a birthday, a holiday, a celebration of some kind. There really is no reason that we can't simply spend time with others simply for the sake of sharing good company.


You do of course forget that TV and typing crap to strangers on Facebook are far more important than spending time having meaningful face to face conversation?
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Credo Buffa » Fri Feb 26, 2010 6:26 pm

Raphael wrote:Credo, I'm not seeing the connection between air travel ( which to be fair is causing global warming and damage to this planet) and Romance. I was thinking more of heartfelt love letters like John's, real friendship, loyalty...etc...etc..

I suppose it depends on your definition of "romance." Of course sitting on a plane is no fun at all, but the fact that it allows us to have moments many of us would never be able to have. . . more of a "cause and effect" relationship to the idea of romance, I guess. I'm thinking of the long day I spent in an airport in Oslo, hauling a massive suitcase and waiting for transport, exhausted beyond belief after a long concert tour conducted while fighting the flu, and yet feeling absolute exhilaration and entrancement at first seeing Edinburgh Castle perched on the rock over the city from the top of a double-decker bus. If I'd lived in Keats' day, I'd probably never have had that moment, let alone seen Europe, let alone seen many of the great sights and beauties of my own country, let alone seen many of the great sights and beauties of my own state. I think what I'm getting at is the concept of the "globe trekker" as a contemporary notion of Romanticism that was available to only a very few in centuries gone by.

So while much of the industry and technology we have now may not be "romantic" in and of itself, it can lead to those experiences.

Raphael wrote:I have not had such nights since I was at university- student life lended itself to such activities and gatherings.


Perhaps it's because most of my friends now are those I knew from college. We've simply extended our relationship beyond those years and into our adult lives, and added a little sophistication to our proceedings, as allowed by life outside the dorms. The "wine" part of "wine and conversation" has to be pretty covert when you live on a dry campus. ;)

Raphael wrote:You do of course forget that TV and typing crap to strangers on Facebook are far more important than spending time having meaningful face to face conversation?

I suppose it depends on the circles within which you associate. I don't think anyone I know personally would think as much.

Then again, we all spend time here on this forum, don't we? I wouldn't call that crap. :)

Plus, I can't knock the internet. If it weren't for things like e-mail and Facebook, I wouldn't be able to keep in such close touch with all the wonderful friends I've made from all over the world over the years, many of whom it's impossible to see face-to-face anymore. Yes, there are plenty of ways to mindlessly waste away on Facebook (most of which blew up after they added all the unnecessary bells and whistles that removed it from pure social networking into a quagmire for the likes of FarmVille and "become a fan of 'When I was your age, we had to blow on video games to make them work'"), but it also has meaningful advantages if you use it properly.

You don't think Keats would have used Facebook to keep in touch with George in America if he'd had the option? ;)
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Malia » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:07 pm

Can you see Keats setting up a Blog? Imagine the entries! :) Wonder how he'd decorate his site? Hmmm. . .
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Cybele » Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:35 am

Malia wrote:Can you see Keats setting up a Blog? Imagine the entries! :) Wonder how he'd decorate his site? Hmmm. . .


How would he decorate his blog?
Why, he'd post pictures of his cats like my son-in-law does! :lol:
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Raphael » Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:05 pm

Malia wrote:Can you see Keats setting up a Blog? Imagine the entries! :) Wonder how he'd decorate his site? Hmmm. . .


I can't seem him being afan of the web really! I know it is useful and we have this great forum- but really I would not need it if I had a Keatsian Circle of friends ( I mean either who like his works and literature in general and like evenings like Credo's) or friends like he had.
Despite technology there are even more lonelier people in the world right now it is said.
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: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Credo Buffa » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:41 pm

Raphael wrote:
Malia wrote:Can you see Keats setting up a Blog? Imagine the entries! :) Wonder how he'd decorate his site? Hmmm. . .


I can't seem him being afan of the web really! I know it is useful and we have this great forum- but really I would not need it if I had a Keatsian Circle of friends ( I mean either who like his works and literature in general and like evenings like Credo's) or friends like he had.
Despite technology there are even more lonelier people in the world right now it is said.

That's the thing, though: the world IS a much different place right now, and if we are to transplant any historical figure into the contemporary world, we have to consider that all their environmental influences would change as well. If Keats were a 25-year-old man living today, how would he even manage to avoid the web if he wanted to? It's a part of our lives now to the point that NOT having the access or ability to use it can create a significant challenge if you expect to be able to keep up with the pace of the world. Say Keats wanted to publish a book of poems today. He'd most likely send a proposal online, since snail mail is becoming less and less prevalent for submissions of any kind, so he'd have to have an e-mail address. During the process of editing, he'd also need that e-mail--probably a mobile phone as well--to remain in communication with the publisher. Once the book is published, he'd probably have a website, Facebook fan page, blog, etc. to promote it. No, it might not sound "romantic" in a traditional sense to our ears, but that's the way it is.

And like anything, it's really all a matter of how we choose to use the advancement. I for one don't feel like having the relationships I have out in the "real world" have to exclude me from participating in online life as well. I have an online blog/journal, I send e-mails to my boyfriend to keep in touch with him during the work day, I keep up with friends I rarely ever get to see because of time/distance/etc, and have even made friends I would otherwise have never met if it hadn't been for the internet. If anything, I feel MORE connected, both with friends and family and my community, because of this ability to instantaneously search and communicate.

Plus, it seems to me that for someone as widely-read and interested in knowledge as Keats, he would appreciate having access to just about anything he could ever want to know right at his fingertips. Plus, I still think that if he had something like e-mail or Facebook to keep in touch with George in America, he'd be all over it.

On a completely unrelated note, I thought this might fall under the broad umbrella of this topic. My friend found this really fascinating article, including audio examples, that discusses the way that changes in instrument construction and technology have changed the way we classic musical compositions today. What would a Beethoven piano sonata sound like to Keats? Find out!

http://www.slate.com/id/2245891/

(Incidently, I can't help but be admittedly snarky and point out that none of us would probably have encountered this if not for the web. :P)
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Maureen » Sat Mar 06, 2010 3:52 pm

Like most of the discussions I've found on this site - really interesting!

As for whether the 21st Century is Romantic - it all depends on how you interpret Romantic. If you are thinking of appreciation of and being in touch with nature, then probably far fewer people today are appreciative of the natural world, because a higher proportion live in larger and more built up cities, and the pace of working life means many people simply get up, work, go home, eat dinner, watch TV, go on Facebook and then go to bed. But in Keats' day the majority of the population - the poorer classes - had no idea about appreciation of nature - or literature or art - because they worked all day just to survive, and collapsed into bed each day too weary to have gone on Facebook had it been invented. And they were uneducated and unable to access the wonderful novels, poetry and plays around them.

For the middle and upper classes there was more opportunity to appreciate the finer things in life, and the time to travel, write, read, socialise, enjoy the peace and comfort of their life as detailed above was there.

But nowadays there is far more choice - for men and even more so for women. We can choose a career that takes up all our time, or we can decide to focus on hobbies, interests, family - whatever we personally feel is right for us. I sympathise with what Raphael is saying about unemployment, but the unemployed in the 19th Century were far worse off - they faced losing their homes and literally begging for food on the streets. It isn't easy to feel dependent on the state, but at least the state is there and not the workhouse.

So for me, the things I would like about 19th Century living are the leisure to read, write, play my piano etc, along with the social occasions, and the more extended countryside to walk in - assuming I came from the right family.

However, I would hate feeling like I was owned by my father then my husband; not having the choice of whether to have my own career or a husband and children - or indeed all three; having to dress in whatever was decreed the fashion at the time - much as we have got sloppy over dress, at least we now have the choice of what to wear, and I enjoy wearing trainers and joggers to the gym; old jeans to potter around the garden, and a pretty dress to go out for the evening.

In terms of travelling - a couple of weeks back I drove from the Island to Plymouth (my son had a university interview); from there to Bournemouth where we stayed the night; he had another interview that day then we came home - and walked in the door at 4pm. It made me ponder on the fact that it took Keats a similar time just to get from London to Teignmouth.

As for the internet, like all things it depends how you use it, and I agree with Credo that Facebook is great for keeping in contact with people you know and like but crap if you go on it to play Farmville or whatever. One of the things our John loved to do was communicate, and I think he would have appreciated the ability to do so via the web: if he'd had email in his day, George would never have had to travel back to England in search of money because John's letter would have been received instantly. I can see John delighting in chatting to George and Georgiana via Skype, and being able to see photos of their newborn baby; I'm sure he would have emailed his friends: the only downside I can see is that the emails might not have survived the way his letters have, but that's our problem, not his. I can even see him using Twitter to update Tom and his friends on how his Scottish tour was going....

And none of that would have stopped him (or us) from spending time with friends: I use the internet to set up meetings with mates - it doesn't prevent me from seeing people face to face - if anything, the reverse.
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Re: Living In Keats' Time

Postby Raphael » Sat Mar 06, 2010 4:27 pm

And like anything, it's really all a matter of how we choose to use the advancement. I for one don't feel like having the relationships I have out in the "real world" have to exclude me from participating in online life as well. I have an online blog/journal, I send e-mails to my boyfriend to keep in touch with him during the work day, I keep up with friends I rarely ever get to see because of time/distance/etc, and have even made friends I would otherwise have never met if it hadn't been for the internet. If anything, I feel MORE connected, both with friends and family and my community, because of this ability to instantaneously search and communicate.


Good for you- but some people are online as they have no real deep friendships with people in their local areas. Modern life sometimes makes online life into a substitute for the real true thing. In the past they had no need of such things as people knew how to form proper friendships- this is rarer now.



Plus, I still think that if he had something like e-mail or Facebook to keep in touch with George in America, he'd be all over it.


He might have liked that and perhaps the telephone- I wonder if he would have been ringing Fanny B up a lot if they had had the phone back then... :D


On a completely unrelated note, I thought this might fall under the broad umbrella of this topic. My friend found this really fascinating article, including audio examples, that discusses the way that changes in instrument construction and technology have changed the way we classic musical compositions today. What would a Beethoven piano sonata sound like to Keats? Find out!

http://www.slate.com/id/2245891/


I forgot to bring my headphones to the library- will listen on Monday!


Incidently, I can't help but be admittedly snarky and point out that none of us would probably have encountered this if not for the web. :P)


True- but in bygone days I wouldn't need this as I would have a circle of friends to converse with. :wink:
I have sat in this library all afternoon online- I wouldn't be doing this if I had a Keatsian circle of friends.I shall go home and not see anyone til I go to the UK online internet place on Monday-unless I go to the local shops for toilet rolls or other sundries.
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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