MLA Keats thesis--finally pinned down, I think

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MLA Keats thesis--finally pinned down, I think

Postby dks » Sat Nov 25, 2006 6:57 pm

Well, all--I have had all semester to get this nailed--a topic or an angle for my MLA thesis. It has been overwhelming with teaching, parenting, schooling, and now coaching...but I finally honed in on what it is I want to focus on for my thesis. I will cut and paste what I emailed my directing professor (who, by the way, is wondrous--she is the Romantics professor at St. Thomas--and a wise, benevolent, kind and patient woman, at that--not to mention professor Emeritus now there--so she's done her time). here is what I sent her:

Hello, Dr. Linsely.

Some news: after perusing "Voice of the Shuttle" I stumbled across a very intriguing idea for a more narrow, and yet inclusive topic/angle without having to completely annihilate the fledgling research I've done thus far. The site is called "Romantic Natural History Timeline." There I found a link to Keats and his affinity for the romantic natural world along with his gift for the "poetic powers of observation." I found this very interesting since the link cited much from "Endymion" and his early sonnets (not to mention his odes), which all contain many rich and intense images of natural surroundings. The commentary touched on his medical training, which afforded him a keen eye for anatomical detail and his personal, close knowledge of flowers, plants, and trees. This caught my eye because it was at Clarke's where Keats first garnered this love and knowledge of botanical beauty--Clarke had the boys plant and tend their own gardens and water and monitor their own strawberry patches and fruit vines; the subsequent reward for succeeding in doing this was hours of strawberry nibbling and melon munching!

I know I can find a large body of work on this...I love it! I'm excited about taking this route...I hope it meets with your approval. I really like how it incorporates much of all his work, letters, and facets concerning his life such as his experience at Clarke's, his medical training, his emotional development as a poet, and his feelings about death/love.

What do you think?


...and her reply:

I think it sounds great and offers you much more than just the experience at Clarke's school, mainly because it's so hard to find material for that school. I'd love to know more about the school, but it is clearly a challenging topic. On the Byron society listserv, they have been discussing Byron's early school and where it was located. The people who are in England have had to go to its former site and verify that it was torn down, which shows you how hard it is to find anything on these schools. I'm just so glad you found this new topic, which is very rich indeed. Good research! Love, Joy

Ok. So my requirements are as follows: a min. of 20 sources, a final paper of 50-100 pages...and the Dean of my program as officially asked me to present what research I have ready on April 13th at an MLA symposium. No pressure, right!? :shock:

I ask you, my uber-intelligent forum-ite family...any info or input you might think about, mull over, opine about, have long drunken conversations about with a friend, dream about (Malia) or just want to put two cents in about--feel free to do so!! I have 12 sources thus far--straight from my own home library--the rest will come from London when I'm there in January.

I have quite an arduous task here...even if all you have is moral support--please--pass it on! :wink:

Just a postscript--the other 'class' I'm taking this semester is an independent study--it is a Dickens study--I have to read 4 Dickens' novels by January and I'll have one big paper due for it at the end of the next semester...I'll list the novels in another post...this one is too long already...

God help me. I have been ill all Thanksgiving holiday from sheer exhaustion, I think...

I need a serious drink... :shock: :lol:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby Saturn » Sun Nov 26, 2006 2:20 am

I really admire what you're doing Denise - that amount of work!!

Just reading about it terrifies me :shock:

The angle you have chosen is an excellent one, and very wide ranging which can only help as Keats observation for nature was acute, surgeon-like in its precision.

What we don;t do as much of in today's society, or what we don;t have the opportunity or the time to do is actually observe as Keats was able to do. I often marvel in reading the biographies of the romantic poets at their long excursions in nature - Coleridge and Wordsworth's great treks across Windermere, Keats and Brown's mammoth Scottish expedition, Byron and Shelley in Switzerland etc. etc.

Life moved at a much slower pace in the pre-railway/automobile age of course - nothing was faster than a galloping horse and people walked out of necessity, not for keeping fit.
They used their senses more than we do I suspect, didn't take the natural world for granted. They saw, smelt and felt what nature was like and [luckily for us] they had a great talent for describing what they saw, heard and felt.
They [i'e. the Romantics] felt an affinity for nature in a way that it is hard even today to explain. They were the first generation really who had a compassion, a reallove for nature as a thing itself - proto-environmentalists?

I'm just musing Denise not sure what I'm saying here and this isn;t specifically about Keats but I would need to do a bit of research.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby darthoutis » Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:56 am

I know I've told you this already, Denise, but I agree totally with your angle. I do believe that Keats' medical training informed his work and style--how else did he come up with metaphors like the bright star resting on the breast of snowy mountains?

I also love Dr. Linsley. Maybe I'll have her direct my thesis next semester instead.

Joy!

-Mike
What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
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Postby dks » Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:53 am

I am a bit reluctant to reply to you on here and be myself, Mike. I have a tendency to be intimidated by your pure erudition, not to mention your exacting resolve.

I warn you now that I am totally and completely myself on here...all my forum-ite family knows my heart inside and out, as I wear it like a thorny crown. I suspect it will, at first, amuse you, but then soon irritate you.

Welcome, darth (very nice avatar)...for those of you confused--I know Mike very well. He is a professor in the making...God himself had writ it on his heart before he was of this world...he has been ethereally groomed for a career in academia, so mind your analyses, folks...

However...this is a Keats forum...so I shall take into consideration that you are of the Miltonic school of thought and I will be your guide to take you through our "verduous glooms and winding mossy ways"... I am hyper-protective of this place--us Keatsian folks are indeed a special, delicate breed... :wink: :lol:
Last edited by dks on Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dks » Mon Nov 27, 2006 7:55 am

Saturn wrote:I really admire what you're doing Denise - that amount of work!!

Just reading about it terrifies me :shock:

The angle you have chosen is an excellent one, and very wide ranging which can only help as Keats observation for nature was acute, surgeon-like in its precision.

What we don;t do as much of in today's society, or what we don;t have the opportunity or the time to do is actually observe as Keats was able to do. I often marvel in reading the biographies of the romantic poets at their long excursions in nature - Coleridge and Wordsworth's great treks across Windermere, Keats and Brown's mammoth Scottish expedition, Byron and Shelley in Switzerland etc. etc.

Life moved at a much slower pace in the pre-railway/automobile age of course - nothing was faster than a galloping horse and people walked out of necessity, not for keeping fit.
They used their senses more than we do I suspect, didn't take the natural world for granted. They saw, smelt and felt what nature was like and [luckily for us] they had a great talent for describing what they saw, heard and felt.
They [i'e. the Romantics] felt an affinity for nature in a way that it is hard even today to explain. They were the first generation really who had a compassion, a reallove for nature as a thing itself - proto-environmentalists?

I'm just musing Denise not sure what I'm saying here and this isn;t specifically about Keats but I would need to do a bit of research.


Stephen Saturn. You have given me an idea...I'll explain in another post... :shock:
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Postby darthoutis » Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:04 pm

<i>He is a professor in the making...God himself had writ it on his heart before he was of this world...he has been ethereally groomed for a career in academia, so mind your analyses, folks... </i>

"Professor in the making," eh? I think after I graduate next semester, I'll be homeless and relying on your charity! Hehehehe.

I also agree with Stephen that people living before the Industrial Revolution took more notice of nature and their surroundings. Yet even allowing this, I think Keats shows an even stronger sensibility to nature than most other poets do (I'd elaborate more but I have to go to class).

As far as the pre-Industrials being proto-environmentalist, I would agree there, too. Milton was one, especially when you consider how he presents Adam and Eve's tending of the Garden of Eden.
What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?
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Postby Saturn » Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:17 pm

And may I welcome you darthoutis to our little on-line Eden here.

Any friend of Denise's... :D
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Postby dks » Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:52 am

Saturn wrote:Any friend of Denise's... :D


:oops: Aw, go on, now--would ya, Stephen? :wink: :lol:
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Re: MLA Keats thesis--finally pinned down, I think

Postby Raphael » Thu Mar 11, 2010 3:46 pm

Good luck on your thesis. I think you will find the following book very helpful:

Guy Murchie- the Spirit of Place in Keats.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_nos ... &x=16&y=15


He describes how places inform the poems- landscape, mood etc. It was published in 1955 and easily the best book on John Keats I've read so far. It is very well researched- Guy Murchie actually came over from the USA and went to all the places John had lived in/stayed at. there is a foreward in there by the then curator of Keats House.
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.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: MLA Keats thesis--finally pinned down, I think

Postby Cybele » Fri Mar 12, 2010 2:15 am

Raphael wrote:Good luck on your thesis. I think you will find the following book very helpful:

Guy Murchie- the Spirit of Place in Keats.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_nos ... &x=16&y=15


He describes how places inform the poems- landscape, mood etc. It was published in 1955 and easily the best book on John Keats I've read so far. It is very well researched- Guy Murchie actually came over from the USA and went to all the places John had lived in/stayed at. there is a foreward in there by the then curator of Keats House.


This was a very good book. I really enjoyed it.
I *think* it may have been this book that led me to a book about the founder of John Clarke's school that the Keats boys attended.
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
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Re: MLA Keats thesis--finally pinned down, I think

Postby Raphael » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:38 pm

This was a very good book. I really enjoyed it.
I *think* it may have been this book that led me to a book about the founder of John Clarke's school that the Keats boys attended.


Great- another person who has read this one! Guy Murchie is definitely the best biographer I've read so far. Even tho it was written in 1955 it's not dated at all. I love the photos of the house in Bedhampton and Keats House in the 1950s.
I'm thinking of getting the new one by S. Plumy at some point- it seems to have good reviews.
I didn't like Ward's or Motion's, but Coote's is ok.
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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