Mark's Reviews > Keats

Keats by Andrew Motion
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's review
Dec 15, 11

bookshelves: biography
Read from December 10 to 15, 2011

John Keats perhaps is my favorite of the Romantic poets. I favor Keats for the poetry and Chopin for the music- although they perhaps each alone bookmark the era. I see there are some similarities between him and Jim Morrison from our own era- however, differences perhaps outweigh the similarities.
Both men died young too young- Keats at 25, Morrison at 27. Both died foreign deaths, due to natural causes. Both were perhaps (arguably) the most talented of their peers, (and here I would argue, Morrison the lesser power.) Lines such as "what have we done to the earth, what have we done to our fair sister?" evince a love of nature which is comparable to that found in Keats' Ode To A Nightingale.
There perhaps the similarities end. While Morrison represented a rebellion against traditions, Keats only seemed to hearken to a more refined Classicism. And while Morrison walked up easily into his crown of laurels, with mass popularity and gold albums, Keats struggled hard for his brief life to earn both acceptance and love- neither of which found him in time. A tragically noble and nobly tragic figure, John Keats did a lot in his short time, and for 'one whose name was writ in water', achieved in poetry at the very least a place amongst the heroic.
This is a very good and scholarly book, perhaps not for the general public, maybe more for the academe, but the initiate and devotee of Keats will be quite satisfied by it.
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