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John Keats: The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

John Barnard
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Jan 1977

Covering the entire output of an archetypal - and tragically short-lived - romantic genius, the Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Poems of John Keats is edited with an introduction and notes by John Barnard.

Keats's first volume of poems, published in 1817, demonstrated both his belief in the consummate power of poetry and his liberal views. While he was criticized by many for his politics, his immediate circle of friends and family immediately recognized his genius. In his short life he proved to be one of the greatest and most original thinkers of the second generation of Romantic poets, with such poems as 'Ode to a Nightingale', 'Bright Star,' 'The Eve of St Agnes' and 'La Belle Dame sans Merci'. While his writing is illuminated by his exaltation of the imagination and abounds with sensuous descriptions of nature's beauty, it also explores profound philosophical questions.

John Barnard's acclaimed volume contains all the poems known to have been written by Keats, arranged by date of composition. The texts are lightly modernized and are complemented by extensive notes, a comprehensive introduction, an index of classical names, selected extracts from Keats's letters and a number of pieces not widely available, including his annotations to Milton's Paradise Lost.

John Keats (1795-1821) lost both his parents at an early age. His decision to commit himself to poetry, rather than follow a career in medicine, was a personal challenge, unfounded in any prior success. His first volume of poetry, published in 1817, was a critical and commercial failure. During his short life he received little recognition, and it was not until the latter part of the nineteenth century that his place in English Romanticism began to be understood, and not until this century that it became fully appreciated.

If you enjoyed Keats's Complete Poems you might enjoy John Clare's Selected Poems, also available in Penguin Classics.


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John Keats: The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics) + The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics) + Lord Byron - The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; 2nd Ed edition (27 Jan 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140422102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140422108
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.2 x 3.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Keats was born in London in 1795. He trained as a surgeon and apothecary but quickly abandoned this profession for poetry.

His first volume of poetry was published in 1817, soon after he had begun an influential friendship with the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. His first collection and the subsequent long poem Endymion recieved mixed reviews, and sales were poor.

In late 1818 he moved to Hampstead where he met and fell deeply in love with his neighbour Fanny Brawne. During the following year Keats wrote some of his most famous works, including 'The Eve of St. Agnes', 'Ode to a Nightingale' and 'La Belle Dame sans Merci'.

He was however increasingly plagued by ill-health and financial troubles, which led him to break off his engagement to Fanny. Soon after the publication of Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes and Other Poems in 1820, Keats left England for Italy in the hope that the climate would improve his health. But Keats was by this time suffering from advanced tuberculosis, and he died on February 23rd 1821.

On his request, Keats' tombstone reads only 'Here lies one whose name was writ in water'.



Portrait (c) National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG 194
John Keats, by William Hilton (died 1839)

Product Description

About the Author

John Keats (1795-1821) is one of the greatest of the Romantic poets. Beyond his influence on poetry and literature, his body of work continues to be immensely popular. John Barnard is an authority on the Romantic period.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Beauty is truth, truth beauty" 22 Mar 2000
Format:Paperback
A Spaniard, like I am, may not be the most accurate person to speak about English poetry. But considering my "amour fou" for W.B. Yeats, Lord Byron, Robert Browning and William Shakespeare, I think I can say one true statement: everyone should fall in love with Keats. He was probably the most uncultivated author of the whole History... but who minds about it, when his moody and sensitive soul has given us some of the lines which Oblivion could never waste.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Defintive edition- terrible conversion 5 Mar 2011
Format:Paperback
This review is for the kindle version of the book. One would think that Penguin might have put a minimum of effort into adapting such a seminal text for their kindle classics collection. However this looks as if they've taken the pdf and run it through a run of the mill generator. The biggest howler is that there is no table of contents, so you will have to use the search function or simply go from page to page until you find the poem you want. The second big problem with the conversion is that the poems are tabbed in such a way that the lines start off almost a quarter of the way across the page. So when viewing in the standard portrait mode most of the lines are cut off before their natural breaks.

I spent £9.99 hoping for a definitive, well put together collection of one of the greatest ever poets, only to end up with an ebook that I might as well have downloaded from Project Gutenberg for free. Much has been written about problems with poetry and ebook readers, but many independent publishers have paid attention to these issues and brought out beautiful poetry ebooks that are a pleasure to read. One would think that, considering the price, Penguin would have put as much thought in when bringing Keats to Kindle. Don't be fooled by the price, this is not a premium ebook, it is a cynical attempt by Penguin to demand more money than the paperback cover price while putting zero effort into the Kindle conversion. Buy the paperback or download a free or budget version.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great poetry, shame about the editor 13 April 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Reading an edition of Keats edited by John Barnard means contrasting two vastly different minds. The poet of rare and profound sensibility, and an academic with less of interest to offer than any editor I know of. The man, doubtless industrious, has literally nothing to say. Rarely have I read an introduction of such outstanding banality. The text and apparatus are no worse than other editions, but Barnard's pedestrian introduction provides the general reader with no insights or interesting directions to explore - instead we get the usual potted biography: Fanny (it was his girlfriend's name), TB, and the Spanish Steps. If you already know Keats was poorly and didn't live long, get an edition with something to say.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection! 29 July 2010
Format:Paperback
What can you say? The Mozart of the sonnet. If you ever think it's easy to write good sonnet try writing one! And he died at twenty six, eight years younger than Mozart.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Beautiful 19 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback
I agree. He is a great, poetic genius. As an English teacher, in the past, I was lucky enough to teach him at A' Level.

I've integrated one of his great poems, `La Belle Dame Sans Merci.', into the narrative of my novel in a crucial love scene between the two main characters, Chris and Jo. When I saw `Bright Star' I thought Jane Campion has ripped my idea off, the similarities are unnerving! Of course it's just coincidence. Her writing is brilliant of course and I believe the same can be said of mine!

A major theme in my novel `A Song for Jo is the attempt by a young couple of English students to live and love by the ideals expressed in some great Literature. The novel explores, in the narrative, how the force of great literature can inform and develop a receptive, creative mind, making it a love story with a difference!

People of all ages and sex have liked it a lot. It's also got a stunning Pre-Raphaelite art work on the cover to complement the Keats and Tennyson poetry worked in there.

It's available on Amazon - please follow the link.

A Song for Jo
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