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 Cybele » Mon May 18, 2015 7:41 pm

I remember hearing about the Denise Gigante book while she was still researching it. I happily anticipated it. I thought it a good read, but someone who isn't as "into" George Keats as I am might not have the same reaction as I did. The author, I understand, had been to the Filson Club in Louisville, KY, to use research materials there. (When I visited the Filson Club back in 2010 -- my second trip to Louisville in search of George's grave -- the staff in the archives was absolutely lovely to me, gracious and helpful. I liked that Gigante had a good bit of information about James Freeman Clarke, a close friend of George's and my favorite American Transcendentalist.

Another book that came out about the same time, "George Keats of Kentucky," was written by Lawrence Crutcher, a great-great-great-grandson of George Keats. When I started the book, I hoped to learn what really happened between George and the French/Haitian/American naturalist, John James Audubon. (It was with Audubon that George entered into that ill-fated investment that failed and caused George to return briefly to England to try to get more money.) But, LOL, in Crutcher's opinion that incident was so very confusing and poorly documented that it's unlikely anyone will ever figure out what happened.

A third book that's somewhat related -- well tangentially related, anyway -- is "The Immortal Dinner," by Penelope Hughes-Hallett, dealing with Benjamin Robert Haydon and his creation of the painting, "Christ's Entry into Jerusalem." (The painting is now in Cincinnati.)
Last edited by Cybele on Sun May 31, 2015 9:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Mon May 18, 2015 8:17 pm

Thanks Cybele I wasn't aware of the 'George Keats of Kentucky'.

This is clearly a topic that needs more research done and is just as fascinating a story, if not more so than John Keats' one. A familiar emigrants tale, if not for his famous brother, nonetheless George's story is one with telling and reading the more you look into it.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby Saturn » Fri May 22, 2015 9:18 am

This book has redeemed itself by the always difficult to read depiction of Keats' death. The true horror of TB or any fatal illness before modern medicine is terrifying to read about. The awful drawn out agony of poor Keats and the touching devotion of Severn never fails to move me to tears.
There are some that see Severn as an opportunist, a hanger-on, an exploiter of Keats but I will have none of that. True, his motive for going to Italy was probably number one to further his career, but he did go and provided real comfort for Keats nursed him day and night for all those months; he didn't have to do that at all, he could have left him to suffer and gone off and worked towards advancing his career but he didn't.
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Re: The 'Currently reading' thread...

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue May 26, 2015 12:51 am

After everything I have read on John Keats (80+ books), it is clear that Severn took on a task that was more demanding than he first imagined. But he did it to the best of his ability. He couldn't possible know the horrors to come with John's suffering, but he nonetheless took it all on with his best energies. I can't see faulting Severn for doing the toughest job anyone could do for a TB patient. I deeply respect Severn for the care he showed John. It was exhausting work and it became clear in the last 50 days or so in Rome that John was not going to recover, but descend into a wretched end - and Severn crossed that line in his commitment to John, and stayed with him to the very end. Thank God he did.
I fully agree with you Saturn.
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