Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby Cath » Tue May 28, 2013 8:46 pm

Hello gentle readers!

This evening I was at a Claire Tomalin lecture about Jane Austen at the South Bank Centre in London and afterwards she did a book signing. Thinking of our online conversations about how great a Keats biography by Claire Tomalin or Richard Holmes would be, I took the opportunity to ask her whether she had thought of it. She said that so many of her friends have already written biographies of him, but that she genuinely loved his poetry. She mentioned the biographical introduction she wrote on Keats for a selection of his poetry - I had already read this, but I think we have too few biographies of Keats by women and I'd be interested in her perspective & how it would add to or differ to Aileen Ward's or those written by men. Sadly I think she is planning to write a biography on George Herbert instead. I got the impression she thought the Keats biographical market was already over-saturated, although she didn't say this directly.

If I ever meet Richard Holmes, I shall try & "work on" him too! :lol:

Take care all!
Cath
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby Saturn » Tue May 28, 2013 8:55 pm

Do do!
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby Cybele » Fri May 31, 2013 1:36 am

Wow. Who wouldn't love a Richard Holmes Keats bio!
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby ColSilver » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:14 pm

Yes, I agree - I'd give my eye teeth for a biography of Keats by Richard Holmes. His Shelley, The Pursuit is perhaps my favourite biography of all time, and one of the books that got me hooked on the Romantics in the first place. I'm lucky enough to live near Marlow in Buckinghamshire and vividly remember the first time I went down there to see Shelley's old house, Albion House. Even now driving past it makes the hairs on the back of my neck rise - all thanks to Richard Holmes.
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby Cybele » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:13 am

I still have yet to get my hands on that Shelley bio!
But, his biography of Coleridge made me love STC all the more. His sympathetic yet entertaining narration put flesh on the life of that older Romantic era poet, & made him a real person to me.
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby CasaMagni » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:24 pm

Hello all,

Not to be too controversial with my first post but, in light of the seemingly universal praise which Holmes' bio received, I thought it was interesting that one of the original reviews, by Shelley and his circle editor K.N. Cameron, was pretty scathing. The first page can be accessed here:

http://www.jstor.org/stable/30213180

and the rest by registering for a free account.

Best wishes,
CM.
Last edited by CasaMagni on Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby ColSilver » Wed Jun 19, 2013 11:03 pm

CasaMagni wrote: Not to be too controversial with my first post but, in light of the seemingly universal praise which Holmes' bio received, I thought it was interesting that one of the original reviews, by Shelley and his circle editor K.N. Cameron, was pretty scathing.


Hi, thanks for that interesting comment. I had no idea that someone had given Holmes' Pursuit a bad review (it's truly baffling to me), but it immediately reminded me of William Hazlitt's essay "On Criticism" which sums up the situation nicely, imho:-

http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Essay ... ticism.htm
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Re: Speaking to Claire Tomalin about Keats

Postby CasaMagni » Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:18 am

Hazlitt sums up everything wonderfully, just my favourite prose writer of all - well, except Swift maybe:)
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