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 MrsRsCat » Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:47 pm

Well this is interesting. Had never heard of Holmes and then I see umpteen mentions of him in a day ... Have just finished Daisy Hay's Young Romantics (perhaps better entitled Young Romantics Sans Keats) in which a quote states that Holmes admitted he was/is (?) "in love with Clare Clairmont".
Have just started O'Keefe's bio of Haydon. Must say the first three or four pages almost sent me off to sleep. Am hoping it peps up. Blimey, complete catalogues of house sales are pretty mind-numbing as a curtain-raiser.
Hay was ace, though.
Anyone know where Clare Clairmont was buried?
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:54 am

Not much about Keats in the Daisy Hay book, eh? Darn. I downloaded an excerpt and enjoyed it, put it on my wish list, etc. Would you recommend it, anyway, Mrs. RsCat?
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Ennis » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:20 pm

Cybele wrote:Not much about Keats in the Daisy Hay book, eh? Darn. I downloaded an excerpt and enjoyed it, put it on my wish list, etc. Would you recommend it, anyway, Mrs. RsCat?



I purchased The Young Romantics a while back but have not read it in its entirety yet; it's queued, waiting its turn, although, I did read some parts of the text that dealt with Keats. One thing I did like was Hay's discussion of Leigh Hunt. He sometimes seems to get short shrift in the Romantic Period scheme-of-things. Despite what many folks (much more learned in the ways of Keats and his poetry than me) seem to think of Hunt (sometimes I feel like they "blow him off" -- much the way Keats himself did when he realized Hunt was exercising a tad too much influence on his poetry), I like Hunt: I respect the fact that even though Keats saw the need to distance himself from Hunt for a period of time, Hunt was always there for him (despite the demands of his large brood of ["energetic", or should I say unruly] children and the health concerns of a consumptive wife, one of the first to recognize Keats's poetic genius, the first to publish his early poems, introducing him to PBShelley,et. al., opening up his (chaotic, and therefore, nerve-wracking home [I don't think Keats cared too much for children!]), finding lodgings for him in Kentish Town that last dreadful summer in London ( :( ), moving him back into his home when all who loved Keats realized he couldn't/shouldn't be alone (it's irrelevant to me, as far as my opinion of Hunt is concerned, that Keats left Hunt's home this last time because of that "misunderstanding" stemming from the opened note from Fanny and the unexcusable delay in giving that note to Keats). I would like to believe that if Hunt, and William Haslam, as well, did not have familial responsibilites, they would (should) have been the men to accompany Keats to Rome. Hunt probably would have been glad to go -- I wonder if he wouldn't have appreciated the break from the turmoil at home. He might have been a more realistic and adept nurse (concerning Keats's prognosis and his own consumptive Marianne) than the ever-optimistic, looking at the world "through rose-coloured glasses" as seems to be characteristic of sweet Severn. If we could go back in time and actually meet these literate and exceptional men that made up the Keats Circle, Hunt would be one of my favourites. Anyway, after my rambling opinion of Hunt, I was glad to to see Hays give him his due in her book. :D
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:05 pm

Just finished reading

Image

And having only vaguely heard of this poem in medieval history along with Chaucer and Piers Plowman etc. it was a nice to finally read it, albeit a modern translation by the brilliant Simon Armitage.

As Armitage says in the introduction, for centuries this poem lay in obscurity, so much so that it fell completely below the radar of the whole romantic poetry era and was only rediscovered by the late Victorians. I think Keats would have loved it, being such a fan of medieval poetry, be it the fake mediaevalism of Chatterton, Spenser's faux mediaevalism or the genuine medieval works that he read. With it's tale of Sir Gawain, King Arthur, a quest and a mysterious knight; he would have lodged it in his pantheon of touchstones of English poetry I have no doubt.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:36 pm

The excerpt I downloaded had a lot to say about Hunt. The extra information revised my opinion of Hunt. I had a kind of negative view of him regarding his personal/marital life. (Not that that's any more of my business than ruminating on one of my friends' marriages. :lol: ) Then, after learning Mrs. Hunt's many pregnancies were as much a result of her own desire for her hubby as his for her -- well, I thought the children of more of a manifestation of the Hunts' affection for each other. Nowadays, I don't think many people think ill of a woman whose home is a bit messy, or whose homemaking skills are lacking. (IMO, some people -- men & women -- have a talent for domestic skills. Some people's talents lie elsewhere.)

But, my opinion of Hunt has remained pretty much the same: that he was a steadfast friend to Keats. He did what he could when he could to help him out. (And that's more than I can say for Brown.) Hunt most certainly would have been a more appropriate traveling companion, but Severn, even tho' he hadn't any idea of what he was letting himself in for, stayed by Keats until the bitter end and did what he could for him at the risk of his own health.

That Keats had a difficult time in the Hunts' chaotic home says more about his state of health than anything else, IMO. It would have been almost impossible to get any rest with a bunch of noisy children running around. I believe Keats had a very good grasp of just how ill he was, and knew he was (to put it crudely) screwed. I don't think he disliked children necessarily -- I'm reminded of his tenderness toward his little sister and to Fanny's younger siblings -- I think he just hadn't the energy for dealing with them after he became so ill. (I dote on my grandkids, but I am driven completely nuts by over-indulged children to whom parents have never said, "No.")
Last edited by Cybele on Sun Sep 11, 2011 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:45 pm

Saturn wrote:Just finished reading [Sir Gawain and the Green Knight]



And having only vaguely heard of this poem in medieval history along with Chaucer and Piers Plowman etc. it was a nice to finally read it, albeit a modern translation by the brilliant Simon Armitage.

As Armitage says in the introduction, for centuries this poem lay in obscurity, so much so that it fell completely below the radar of the whole romantic poetry era and was only rediscovered by the late Victorians. I think Keats would have loved it, being such a fan of medieval poetry, be it the fake mediaevalism of Chatterton, Spenser's faux mediaevalism or the genuine medieval works that he read. With it's tale of Sir Gawain, King Arthur, a quest and a mysterious knight; he would have lodged it in his pantheon of touchstones of English poetry I have no doubt.


So, you feel that this is a good translation? Yes?
A friend of mine in college did his doctoral dissertation on Sir Gawain, and since then, I've been meaning to dive into it.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:03 pm

Well, not having read it in the original, I can't judge it as a translation, but as a poem in it's own right, as a telling of the story by Simon Armitage it is a very enjoyable read, that's all I can say. Be warned, though it is very much written in the modern poetic idiom; no thees and thous or any such archaisms as used in older translations.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby MrsRsCat » Sun Aug 14, 2011 11:54 pm

Yes I definitely would recommend the Daisy Hay, despite her odd sidelining of Keats. I agree on the light it shines on the (more usually sidelined) Hunt who emerges as a highly likeable member of the circle.

As for his children however, they sound the absolute pits. Don't blame Keats at all for his attitude. Though I think he had form as far as noisy kids go - he wasn't exactly enamoured of the Dilkes' tribe, the Bentleys' or, I seem to recall, Brown's nephews.

And apropos of Hunt's likeability (for me) why is it I simply cannot find anything to like about Shelley?
Anyone round here got the same problem?
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Mon Aug 15, 2011 6:28 am

Shelley was a fascinating person, but for me, just like Byron, I can admire his work, his intellect, his scholarship, his political and religious views but as a person he must have been awful, and some of his actions and behaviour were appalling to say the least.
I certainly know which of the romantics I'd rather have a pint with.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby MrsRsCat » Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:57 am

His cavalier attitude to women was horrible. Free love was all very well for the men at that time for Pete's sake, but who paid? Bit of a champagne socialist was our Shelley methinks, living on his post obit hopes and fleeing his creditors while championing the cause of the downtrodden labourers.

But to get back to the title of the thread for a minute, my Haydon still lies forlorn on my sofa. What I AM currently reading voraciously is the Life and Times of Lord Byron - on the computer screen. Happened upon the lordbyron.org site yesterday. Wow. Fantastic place. Contains all sorts of wonderful things including the entire Recollections of Writers by Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke and an amazing array of the contemporary journals and all sorts. I have only dipped my toe in so far (Cowden Clarke's reminiscences of Keats first of course) but I foresee far too many hours being whiled away there.
I was sorry to read that Keats went to bear-baiting though ...
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby marwood » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:30 pm

I do like Simon Armitage so will have a look out for Sir Gawain.
Returned from the library with Andrew Motion's selected poems and thought I should read some Ted Hughes.
I saw a programme on TV a while back and Simon Armitage was waxing lyrical about Ted Hughes and Morrissey!

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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:42 pm

Ted Hughes is brilliant, read Birthday Letters first, then maybe his selected poems and go from there.

Morrissey...meh, can't stand the man and his maudlin whiny voice and opinions.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:26 pm

Currently reading:

Image


Wow, just wow; I can't believe I'd never read this before.

Poetic, philosophical, a moving and intelligent recreation of the life and times of the Emperor Hadrian. A meditation on mortality, love, art, culture, civilisation, politics, philosophy and warfare told as if in a letter to the Emperor's destined successor, the young Marcus Aurelius [himself a philosopher-emperor].

If you ever read one historical novel [and it's much, much more than that] let it be this one.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Cybele » Mon Sep 05, 2011 4:00 am

I love Ted Hughes. In fact, can't think of a thing by him I don't like.

Will check out "Memoirs of Hadrian."
Thanks for the heads up on a good read, Saturn!
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby BrokenLyre » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:00 pm

You guys all make life easier for me - by recommending such books. I enjoyed the Immortal Dinner.... if I keep collecting such books my wife will consider putting me away.
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