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John Keats: A New Life

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  12 reviews
This landmark biography of celebrated Romantic poet John Keats explodes entrenched conceptions of him as a delicate, overly sensitive, tragic figure. Instead, Nicholas Roe reveals the real flesh-and-blood poet: a passionate man driven by ambition but prey to doubt, suspicion, and jealousy; sure of his vocation while bitterly resentful of the obstacles that blighted his car ...more
Hardcover, 446 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Yale University Press (first published September 14th 2012)
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Julie Bozza
Brilliant. Just brilliant. The biography by Andrew Motion has been my Keatsian bible for many many years now, and while I reluctantly began thinking it was probably about time for an update, I also dreaded the prospect. I really love and admire John Keats, and Motion was a big part of me getting to know him; I didn't want to lose my (always inadequate, always conditional) grasp on who Keats really was.

Of course I needn't have feared, and any courage needed certainly paid off. This is a great boo
...more
stephanie cassidy
word and work gain an intimacy when
the day to day forging of them
is imagined. how, to know a keats
or a stone for that matter, felt
and then bashed or stroked the shore
of astonishment,
could it be any less supposed
for the product of it? no such coal--
diamond, and the weight, the wait,
of all that pressure, all that de-
composing bonematter...
Suzie Grogan
I am going to review this in full on my blog, but in the immediate aftermath so to speak I can say two things a) Nicholas Roe has Keats on the psychotherapist's couch b) it is fascinating but not entirely convincing. Too many 'he must have thought this' and 'he would have thought that' for my liking. But it is a fresh perspective,his childhood assuming a far greater influence on his poetry than previously assumed and brilliantly researched, especially in relation to Keats's early years and his i ...more
Naima Haviland
Inspired by the beatiful film, Bright Star, which focused on the doomed love between Fanny Brawne and the 18th century poet, John Keats, I read John Keats: the Complete Poems. Then, wanting context, I read Nicholas Roe's biography of the poet, titled: John Keats.

It seems to me that Roe gave more text to Keats' childhood, growth as a poet, and his travels than he did to his romance with Fanny Brawne. After the movie and from reading Keats' love poems inspired by her, I expected the woman to play
...more
Trish
Reading this was like being plunged into John Keats' life in the early 1800s. The detail made this a vivid and enthralling read.
So fascinating to learn of his childhood, family upheaval ,his medical training, death of his brother from the same disease that killed him aged only 25,his literary circle financial troubles and his love life.
I loved being reacquainted with his poems and to learn how some sonnets were dashed off in competition with his friends.
His last journey to Italy and his death ,
...more
Eliot
Oct 24, 2014 Eliot rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: bio
Keats's "outer" life was not rich enough in incident to sustain a 400-page biography on its own, and Keats's "inner" (intellectual/artistic) life is not done justice here. The readings of the poems are simplistic (mainly biographical or glossing allusions), the discussion of Keatsian ideas about mutability, etc., little more than perfunctory. The only thing I really enjoyed about this biography was the chance to reread so many of Keats's poems, since a good number of them (mainly sonnets) are re ...more
Lauren Albert
Writing a biography of someone who lived for only 25 years has its problems, no matter how exciting those years may have been. Roe fills a lot of the space of the book with long passages from Keats' poems and his own explications of them based on Keats' experiences. This can get irritating--I don't think it matters what early landscape inspired some word choice. Maybe that's just me. My other problem was that I guess I've just become more modernist-leaning and found much of Keats' poetry irritat ...more
Lauren
I loved this biography of John Keats. I love pretty much everything about him. It was a really fascinating look at him as a person, especially how his childhood experiences and medical studies shaped his career. It made me appreciate his poetry more. Also, reading about his depressing and painful death made me cry on the Metro, which is always a great, totally normal way to start a day.
Annji
Very readable and immersive. Loved Roe's efforts to gap fill Keats's early life and his constant eye out for possible sources of small inspiration for some of the description in the poems. Also, learned that Keats's dog (sister's dog) was called Wagtail. Not as mind-shifting as Motion's book but absolutely enjoyable.
Alessa Hutter
A very well done biography on one of the greatest poets to ever set pen to paper.
Edward Twohig
A stunning, fresh biography, shedding new material over well trodden ground. Great!
Rita Comstock
If you love Keats, this book is a must.
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“... Whereas Hunt recommended universal charity, Keats, feeling himself 'in a Mist', relied on a knowing passivity: 'Men should bear with each other - there lives not the Man who may not be cut up, aye hashed to pieces on his weakest side'.” 1 likes
“... Coexisting with the radiant masculinity of Apollonian Keats is a lunar poet of enchanted night in thrall to the goddess Hecate.” 1 likes
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