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John Keats' Medical NotebookText, Context, and Poems$
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Hrileena Ghosh

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620610

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620610.001.0001

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‘The Only State for the Best Sort of Poetry’

‘The Only State for the Best Sort of Poetry’

Chapter:
(p.233) Chapter Six ‘The Only State for the Best Sort of Poetry’
Source:
John Keats' Medical Notebook
Author(s):

Hrileena Ghosh

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781789620610.003.0008

This chapter looks at Keats’ 1820 volume. Its first part focuses the circumstances in which its composition and publication took place, showing how at every turn, questions related to health, disease, medicine and death forced themselves upon Keats’ attention. This part of the chapter is recuperative, exploring how the lived experiences of biography influenced the poetry that came out of it, and evaluating the extent to which these infiltrations were consciously allowed. The concluding part reads poems from the 1820 volume – including The Eve of St Agnes, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ and ‘Ode on Melancholy’ – showing how these function as knowing interventions to current developments in medicine. The crises that characterized Keats’ life during 1818 – 20 enabled the process of poetic composition, and significantly influenced the final form of the 1820 volume.

Keywords:   1820 volume, composition, publication, biography, health, medicine, recuperative, The Eve of St Agnes, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on Melancholy

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