Bright Star – John Keats and bad reviews (and some Romantic poetry books from Ashgate)

Posted by Ann Donahue – Senior Editor for Literary Studies at Ashgate

In spite of the muddle Hollywood has made of the Romantic period (think Ken Russell’s Gothic), some of us have been looking forward with anticipation to Jane Campion’s movie on the last years of John Keats’s life. I’ll let movie critics and scholars of the period weigh in on Bright Star, on which the Keats-Shelley Association of American hosted a fascinating roundtable. The podcast is available at the Association’s website.  As scholars now debate the historical accuracy of Campion’s film, so, too, were Keats’s friends and biographers eager to correct the impression that Keats was devastated by bad reviews, an issue that is revisited with fresh insights by John Barnard in his new Times Literary Supplement article, “Who Killed John Keats?”

Obviously, Keats is in the air. He’s also securely placed in Ashgate’s Romanticism list, as is clear from our many publications on Keats and his circle:

Joseph Severn, the artist who accompanied Keats to Italy and cared for him in his final illness, comes alive in Grant Scott’s splendid edition of his letters and memoirs. Severn’s self-fashioning as the “friend of Keats” is examined in Sue Brown’s fine essay in Eugene Stelzig’s brand new edited collection, Romantic Autobiography in England.

Severn’s relationship to Keats is also explored in Andrew Bennett’s “Dead Keats: Joseph Severn, John Keats, and the Haunting of Victorian Culture,” while one aspect of Keats’s importance to the Pre-Raphaelites is taken up in Sarah Wootton’s “‘The wind blows cold out of the inner shrine of fear’: Rossetti’s Romantic Keats,” both featured in Romantic Echoes in the Victorian Era, edited by Andrew Radford and Mark Sandy.

Poet-physicians are the subject of James Allard’s Romanticism, Medicine, and the Poet’s Body,  whereas Keats’s poetry and his speculations about religious and philosophical questions are probed in Jennifer N. Wunder’s Keats, Hermeticism, and the Secret Societies.

A search of Ashgate’s website will turn up several more publications with chapters or essays on Keats. We also have a dedicated website Romanticism page. “High-piled books” indeed!

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