Lecture on Keats

Events that are related to Keats, lectures, new publications. Also your Photos of Keats-related locations, events etc.

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Lecture on Keats

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:04 am

Ok friends...The time has come.....

After many years of people asking me why I like John Keats, I decided to answer their questions in one evening: A formal lecture given by me on June 1st, 2012. It will be a 2 1/2 hour lecture over a 3 hour period. It will be called, "A Romantic Evening With John Keats." I have invited 18 guests, and we'll have English tea, English foods that Keats mentioned in his letters and poems, full English tableware (with spoons from 1819) claret, flowers, pictures, music, candles, etc.... all things Keatsian. The atmosphere is important of course. We'll set up the room according to the 19th century London tea-room layout (as I can best determine).

I could use your help. Here are my questions:
- What poem or idea would you want to communicate to those coming (all are curious, but none know literature, poetry or Keats....). A novice group of adults (nobody under 40 here).
- If you could tell them 1 thing that they should know about his poems, what would that be?
- What other elements can I add to the English ambiance? (I'm going for the 1819 look)
- What other suggestions can you give that might make the evening most memorable?


Thanks for helping with this wonderful event.
"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: Lecture on Keats

Postby Ennis » Thu Apr 19, 2012 3:03 am

BrokenLyre wrote:Ok friends...The time has come.....

After many years of people asking me why I like John Keats, I decided to answer their questions in one evening: A formal lecture given by me on June 1st, 2012. It will be a 2 1/2 hour lecture over a 3 hour period. It will be called, "A Romantic Evening With John Keats." I have invited 18 guests, and we'll have English tea, English foods that Keats mentioned in his letters and poems, full English tableware (with spoons from 1819) claret, flowers, pictures, music, candles, etc.... all things Keatsian. The atmosphere is important of course. We'll set up the room according to the 19th century London tea-room layout (as I can best determine).

I could use your help. Here are my questions:
- What poem or idea would you want to communicate to those coming (all are curious, but none know literature, poetry or Keats....). A novice group of adults (nobody under 40 here).
- If you could tell them 1 thing that they should know about his poems, what would that be?
- What other elements can I add to the English ambiance? (I'm going for the 1819 look)
- What other suggestions can you give that might make the evening most memorable?


Gosh, I'd love to go, brokenlyre, but needless to say, it's been many years since I've "seen" 40!
Poems: all of them, but especially "Ode to a Nightingale" (the most beautiful thing written in any language, at any time - past, present, future, but it won't hurt to touch upon all the Odes, especially "Melancholy" and the "Urn." This is the season for them -- their composition that is); and the stylistic perfect "To Autumn"; and of course, "Bright Star." I also admire "This Living Hand," and both Hyperions. The opening stanza of Hyperion: A Fragment is, as you know, so gorgeous, so visual! But, I'm partial, but aren't we all??!! God, there are so many! How can we Keatsians limit it to just a few!? Oh, definitely "On Looking Into Chapman's 'Homer'" simply because Keats was 19 - 20 when he wrote it and the circumstances surrounding its composition is just remarkable: what? one edit? And of course, it's a huge precursor of what was to come from the super-gifted young man. I love all things about Keats. . . .

When I taught Keats to my eighth graders, I focused on his "living year," starting with the compostion of the first Hyperion (my "kids"[or at least those who "bought into" Keats, and there were more than one would think] were amazed he wrote most of that poem while nursing his dying younger brother. I believe that little tidbit of fact humanized Keats in the minds of some of my students) and concluded with the great "To Autumn."

My students were dumbfounded when they learned that most of what he is remembered for now was written in the span of one year, that he wrote no poetry after the age of 23, and that he died when he was only 25 years and 4 months old, and would have died alone in Rome, if dear Haslam hadn't convinced Severn to accompany Keats.

Read, if you haven't done so, the poetry of "Child of Woz" in the "Where's the Poet?" thread. She was a student of mine who was/is influenced by Keats.

It'd be great if you could present your lecture not only dressed as Keats, but as Keats!!

Any more plans for this summer for a get-to-gether?











'


Thanks for helping with this wonderful event.
Last edited by Ennis on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby Cybele » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:36 am

Oh, this does sound like a wonderful evening, BrokenLyre!

I did something similar to this back in 1995 (as a 100th birthday celebration for friends). I borrowed some blue willow china because Keats mentioned seeing some even in far off Scotland in one of his letters. (I think I remember that correctly. I consulted an historian friend for help in planning a menu. I made sure that there was tea & claret, of course, but also celery. (My friend told me that this now-common veggie was considered a bit exotic back then. I was disappointed that no celery fencing matches broke out. :lol: )

One thing I did, but that probably puzzled my guests, was placing furniture around the perimeter of the room, with chairs and tables brought into the room as needed. This was a common practice in middle-class homes where budgets didn't allow for separate dining, sitting, reading rooms. I also held most of the evening's activities in the living room where I have a large reproduction Audubon print framed. Certainly, Keats wouldn't have had anything like this, but Audubon was -- directly or indirectly -- responsible for George's financial crisis that caused such hardship for both brothers.

Gosh! This sounds like such fun!! I wish I could come!
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby Cath » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:24 am

I agree - sounds great! I would love to be at such a Keats evening!

Two ideas: How about recreating the imitation of musical instruments where Keats took the part of the bassoon (as shown in Bright Star)? That would be fun.

I also thought it would bring your listeners closer to Keats - particualrly if they not (yet :lol: ) of the poetical bent - if you performed one of Keats's letters - perhaps reading one written in the month of June, since your evening is taking place on the first of that month, like his letter to Thomas Keats written at the beginning of the Scotch tour:
http://englishhistory.net/keats/letters/thomaskeats2527June1818.html

Or a letter from 1819 if you want to keep to the 1819 theme:
http://englishhistory.net/keats/letters/brawne11October1819.html
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby marwood » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:01 am

Good luck with that Broken Lyre, it would be interesting to be there,
bit too far for me sadly!

I agree with Ode to a Nightingale, and the third verse with the line,
"where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies" sums up the sadness
with his brother.

You could open the evening with the immortal line:
"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever."
Then away you go! they will all be in the palm of your hand I'm sure! :D

Take care.
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby Cybele » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:01 pm

Ennis wrote:
BrokenLyre wrote:Any more plans for this summer for a get-to-gether?
Thanks for helping with this wonderful event.


I'm still in if you are. I've gotten a "<insert heavy sigh here> OK" from my spouse, altho' I do need a good bit of advance notice. We've got some excursions planned this summer, out-of-town visitors, etc, so some days are already spoken for.

BTW, there was an article in this morning's Sunday paper travel section about visiting Louisville. It talked mostly about Churchill Downs and the baseball bat factory. It didn't mention my favorite spots in the town, at all. :)
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby Ennis » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:54 pm

Cybele wrote:
Ennis wrote:
BrokenLyre wrote:Any more plans for this summer for a get-to-gether?
Thanks for helping with this wonderful event.


I'm still in if you are. I've gotten a "<insert heavy sigh here> OK" from my spouse, altho' I do need a good bit of advance notice. We've got some excursions planned this summer, out-of-town visitors, etc, so some days are already spoken for.

BTW, there was an article in this morning's Sunday paper travel section about visiting Louisville. It talked mostly about Churchill Downs and the baseball bat factory. It didn't mention my favorite spots in the town, at all. :)


Let's go; just tell me when. Anytime will do for me. I'll always make time for Keats, plus I want to so meet all of you, even those who can't make it.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:45 am

Ennis, Cybele, Cath, Marwood (and all others) - thanks for reading my post and for your kind suggestions. You gave me some interesting ideas and where to go with it. I forgot celery - yes, a good suggestion. How could I forget this? There will be candles and other English touches. I will take these ideas along with my own - and see what I come up with. I must do a few sonnets, Chapman's Homer (easier for people to grasp), and Nightingale, To Autumn, some parts of his letters, but I know that people can only take so much information in one night. I'll have to keep it at a simple level with some depth here and there against the background of his life.

I will also include some comments from this forum to show Keats's relevance and importance to people today. So I appreciate your enthusiasm. If any of you were to come to this, you would enjoy it I am sure - but I doubt you would learn very much as my audience is uninitiated and so I must start with where they are at. It will be fun but also emotional for me to do this - so my son agreed to read the things I can't read. Oh well. Can't help my heart from feeling.

About this summer....my 20 year old daughter is getting married August 4th so I won't be heading to Louisville, unfortunately. The cost of travel got absorbed by the wedding. Bummer.
"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: Lecture on Keats

Postby Ennis » Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:28 am

BrokenLyre wrote:Ennis, Cybele, Cath, Marwood (and all others) - thanks for reading my post and for your kind suggestions. You gave me some interesting ideas and where to go with it. I forgot celery - yes, a good suggestion. How could I forget this? There will be candles and other English touches. I will take these ideas along with my own - and see what I come up with. I must do a few sonnets, Chapman's Homer (easier for people to grasp), and Nightingale, To Autumn, some parts of his letters, but I know that people can only take so much information in one night. I'll have to keep it at a simple level with some depth here and there against the background of his life.

I will also include some comments from this forum to show Keats's relevance and importance to people today. So I appreciate your enthusiasm. If any of you were to come to this, you would enjoy it I am sure - but I doubt you would learn very much as my audience is uninitiated and so I must start with where they are at. It will be fun but also emotional for me to do this - so my son agreed to read the things I can't read. Oh well. Can't help my heart from feeling.

About this summer....my 20 year old daughter is getting married August 4th so I won't be heading to Louisville, unfortunately. The cost of travel got absorbed by the wedding. Bummer.



Congratulations to your daughter, brokenlyre, but DAMN!! Maybe Autumn?
About your lecture, try contacting Andrew Motion. He certainly is a member of the Keats Circle, and who knows, he might have some interesting ideas!
I wish I coulld be there.
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:41 pm

Thanks Ennis, I will try contacting Andre Motion. Maybe he'll respond. That would be great if he did.
"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: Lecture on Keats

Postby Cybele » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:28 am

Congratulation, BrokenLyre, on your becoming a father-in-law! (And congrats to your daughter, too! :) )
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby Saturn » Tue May 01, 2012 12:05 am

Might I echo those congratulations most heartily!
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Re: Lecture on Keats

Postby BrokenLyre » Sun May 06, 2012 2:57 am

Thank you friends for your encouragement.

My daughter (who I call my "Keats Companion") wants to recite "To Autumn" with me at the reception. How cool that? We decided to alternate every line between us (since we both memorized it years ago.) Should be a special time doing this in front of 200 people. Yes, I will be a little nervous.
"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: Lecture on Keats - Accomplished!

Postby BrokenLyre » Mon Jun 04, 2012 9:02 pm

Friends,

This past Friday I did my 2 1/2 hour lecture on Keats for 13 adults, who showed an interest in attending this event. We had the house decked out in 1819 style (with a sign that read "Wentworth Place, 1819" on the way in) complete with teaspoons from 1819, and English China. Had many of the foods Keats mentioned in his poems/letters - dates, apples, peaches, plums, nuts, celery, biscuits, scones, English jams, English tea, raw cow milk, coffee, 2 English main dishes, English sandwiches, 1 Italian dish (to honor his stay in Rome), English desserts and of course Claret. Wow. Plus pictures of Keats's life on computer/TV screen, and various books about Keats lying around. All tables were covered with place settings (4 at a table) with flowers and candles and music.

After dinner, I worked my way through Keats' life, highlighting "City Pent", part of "Sleep and Poetry," "Chapman's Homer", part of "Song of Indian Maid, "When I Have Fears", 2 stanzas from "St. Agnes Eve", Fanny Brawne, "Nightingale" (1st Stanza), and "To Autumn." There was a 15 minute break as well. Heavy stuff I must say. It went as well as I could make it. I think they were all somewhat shocked by the power, beauty and tragedy of his life. I used transparencies (old school) with a projector to show the poems and I also gave them copies to follow along. That way I could write on the transparencies so they could see the points I was making (form, structure, etc..).

Doing this allowed me the time to trace the arc of his life along the lines of his Poetic Ambition and Love. With respect to these twin concepts, you can really get a sense of the movement and direction of his poems. Even though I know the Keats story, it still surprised me while I was explaining the arc of his life to people and showing the connections between his early poems and his later work. It struck me deeply doing it all in so short a time. Yes, it was hard to hold back the tears, as I love my friend so much, and could not help but bare my soul. But they now know what is close to my heart. One of my goals was that I did not want to sin against Keats' native skies.... I think I honored our friend with my best effort. The preparation was so time consuming (5 weeks) that I couldn't do it again. Thanks for letting me share this with you - and YES - I mentioned this forum and our friends here in this Keats Circle.

I hope you get the chance to do this or something similar for your own family & friends.
"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: Lecture on Keats

Postby marwood » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:51 am

Thats sounds absolutely fantastic! I wish I could have been there. Well done!
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