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on 8 June 2010
I have read some reviews saying that this edition of Keats' poetry is not complete, but it darn well feels like it! Alongside the well-known poems are the ones which I had never even heard of: A Galloway Song, Sharing Eve's Apple, Sonnet to a Cat. (If these are already well-known then I apologise!) As a bonus the book includes detailed notes for each of the poems so you don't have to go and look up all the obscure mythological (mostly Greek) references as there are a lot of them.

And the poetry itself? No adjectives can describe it apart from "beautiful". There are the short sonnets for when you only want to read a quick few and the lengthier ones such as Endymion if you have a bit more time on your hands. Keats was truly the master of the senses, able to create a huge variety of moods for all seasons from the mellowness of autumn to the sweet and fragrant spring. In true Romantic spirit he writes love letters to Nature, to rambling fields of wildflowers and vast rolling hills. The rhythm of the poems give them the flow of a river, a stream running through a forest untouched by human hands.

Read Keats and let yourself be transported to some of the most sensual worlds found in poetry. At such an affordable price you've got no excuse.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 November 2009
Some months ago I came across the email address of my former English teacher from my schooldays of more than 35 years ago. It was during the BBC's TV poetry season and, after the screening of their documentary of the life of Eliot, I took the opportunity to contact him and thank him for sowing the seeds of a lifelong love of poetry in general, and for Eliot and Yeats in particular. I received a gratifying reply from a man who must by now be into his late 70's, and who was clearly delighted to hear from an erstwhile pupil, of whom he had reasonably fond recollection, and on whom some of his own literary passions had rubbed off. However... Since then I have acquired and imbibed this complete Keats edition, and I have considered emailing him again to chide him, at least light-heartedly, for never exposing us to this outstanding treasure of our literary heritage. But it is a serious question that an educated Englishman can get to age 51 without a serious encounter with Keats, whom I've since come to consider our second literary marvel after Shakespeare. Is this not symptomatic of a deprived childhood?

It has been a long, slow journey. Whenever I read poetry I read it out loud to ensure that I get the maximum of sense and rhythm from it. This book has been my read-aloud companion in all sorts of places over the summer just gone; the North Yorkshire Coast, Hadrian's Wall, by the bridge over the Wye at Hay and on London's South Bank. Fortunately I no longer care if passers by will consider such behaviour eccentric. But by far the most of it has been read in the bath where the acoustics are optimum.

My instincts are modernist. Until Keats, with the exception of Shakespeare, my interests started with Baudelaire, through to Rilke and so on. I have had a good try with Wordsworth and Shelley, but found the pride and self-assurance of their time and class, for the most part, alien and unengaging. But, whether it's a time in my life or a quality in the man himself I find there to be a reality in Keats' outlook that allows me to connect deeply enough to start enjoying the language, and my, what language it is.

All the poetry I have really enjoyed, till now, has been free verse. To my taste I have always found that the restraints imposed by rhyme and regular meter results in something that sounds artificial at best, and hopelessly stilted at worst. However, I have found with Keats that these apparent constraints are marvellously liberating, and one finds oneself in intimate communion with a mind whose facility with language is as freakishly enhanced as that of the greatest of mathematicians with respect to logic, or the greatest composers with patterns of sound. It is utterly baffling to my mundane mind how, despite the straitjackets of rhyme and meter, someone can still say exactly what they want to say, and a hundred times more beautifully than without those constraints.

I am curious as to why two reviews of selections have been associated with this complete collection. There are so many examples of perfection in the complete corpus that any number of wonderful and inspiring selections might be made. But to take on the complete works is a journey and a job of work not without its trials. Because of the briefness of his life somewhat of what has come to us is incomplete or in an unperfected state. Nonetheless, it is right that these works are included because even where the wholes are imperfect, there is always enough of dazzling brilliance about which to wrap one's heart and mind and tongue.
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on 31 October 2009
A perfect introduction and succinct guide to John Keats life,letter,and poetry.Samples of each of this tragic,but versatile poet's varied poetic forms are sure to tempt the reader into exploring Keats complete writings.A hundred pages of sheer delight and worthy of a place on every bookshelf.
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on 9 August 2012
Of all the English Romantic poets, Keats is the most emblematic of the notion of the beautiful, doomed romantic youth, succumbing to the tragedy and fate of his own death, something which appealed to the Victorians and the Pre-Raphaelites. John Keats (1795-1821) was an apprentice to an apothecary-surgeon and became a student at Guy's Hospital before abandoning medicine in favour of writing poetry. His first volume of poems was published in 1817 and was ridiculed as `Cockney School' of poetry. He visited the Lakes, Scotland and Northern Ireland and moved to London's Hampstead where he met and fell in love with Fanny Brawne. After financial difficulties he became ill in the winter of 1819 with tuberculosis and he died in Rome in February 1821.
Keats was one of the principle figures in the Romantic Movement and he was influenced by Wordsworth and Hazlitt and many critics were quite hostile to his poetic works. The year 1818 proved to be his year of maturity, writing such poems as `Endymion' (dedicated to Chatterton), `Isabella, or the Pot of Basil', `Hyperion', `The Eve of St Agnes', `The Eve of St Mark', `Ode to Psyche', `La Belle Dame sans Merci', `Ode to a Nightingale', `Ode on a Grecian Urn', `Ode on Melancholy', and `To Autumn'. His second volume of verse appeared in 1820 and his contemporaries either loved or loathed his work; Byron, that pompous man of action disliked Keats and despised his effeminacy which is strange coming from a man who delighted in the affections of both sexes! Yet Keats adored Byron's works. But Shelley, the profound visionary who died the year after Keats favoured the younger poet's intellectual and spiritual passion for beauty; he possibly saw a kindred spirit but where Shelley uses philosophy to shape his poems, Keats draws upon the sexual and physical notions of beauty, writing with real feeling and an admiration for beauty in all its transient forms. Byron, the Romantic poseur saw Keats as a passive poet; a `young pretender', with a liking for nostalgia, but I find Keats with his pure heart and imagination relates much better to the modern reader than Byron or Shelley for that matter, and the collected works are a proof of his lasting lyrical beauty! In the words of Shelley: `I weep for Adonais - he is dead!'
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on 1 February 2011
I notice that a fellow reviewer had difficulty locating individual poems in this edition due to lack of an active Contents page. However, if you use the "Go To" function in Menu & choose "Beginning" you will find the individual poems are listed with their location numbers. You can then use the location number to find the poem you want.
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on 8 January 2013
Keats' poetry is sublime. I'm not really qualified to comment any further except to say that I'm constantly amazed that a man so young managed to produce such succinct verbal beauty and wisdom in so short a career (he was only 25 when he died of TB). I bought this volume as a stocking filler for my wife for Christmas and it's quite exquisite with just enough commentary to inform but not intrude. If anyone wants a small book of Keats' poetry, this edition is certainly one to consider. It fits easily into a handbag or a jacket pocket. Strongly recommended.
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on 24 December 2012
I could never, of course, hate the poems, but you have managed to produce such an annoying version with lines turned into half-lines and crammed up against the right hand side of the page,.making them very irritating to read. How could you be so careless!

there is something of the same problem with the poems of both Christina Rossetti and Emily Dickinson where you have broken the poems in two when the number of lines would indicate that each poem could be contained within a page.
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on 20 November 2010
A pity. I downloaded this book today and was looking forward to going through the poems. I found that the contents page is not linked to the poems, which renders it virtually useless. I am very surprised that this is not mentioned in other reviews and that it has been given high ratings. I wonder what is going on.
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on 30 June 2013
Classic poetry + great price = satisfied customer. The only very minor quibble I would have is that the paper used in this book is pretty thin and could have been of better quality. Oh, and if you're short sighted make sure you get your glasses out because the print is quite small. (Although I didn't expect anything else because there is an awful lot to fit into one book so understandably, the publishers were trying to keep printing costs down)
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on 17 December 2013
Not meaning to review the work of a classic, I am not the one to do that.

Just want to mention that the edition I got is the newer one, with similar cover to what we can see now for Yeats, Blake, Tennyson.
The printed font size is a bit larger than other budget books I've seen, and that is very welcome for someone with perpetually tired eyes, like I am.
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