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Fugitive Poems (Hesperus Classics - Poetry) Paperback – 20 May 2004


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Product Description

From the Author

First things first: what is ‘fugitive’ about John Keats? The man himself was notably courageous – someone who busily applied himself to life and work, who eagerly opposed injustice, who liked boxing and was prepared to use his own fists if necessary, and who endured the sufferings of illness with heroic fortitude. Nothing about him was (in the words of the OED) ‘apt or tending to flee’. Neither was there much about his writing that we can call ‘elusive’ – ‘slippery’, yes, in its heated and panting sensuality (‘slippery blisses’), and certainly preoccupied by notions of escape and impermanence, but also wonderfully real and graspable.
On the other hand his life itself was fleeting – it ended in his twenty-sixth year – and he died a refugee, in Rome, in 1821. At the time, it looked as though his reputation might be equally perishable. He had previously published three books of poetry, and the most successful had sold fewer than three hundred copies. This lack of public interest, combined with savage reviews and escalating self-doubt, led him to ask that his gravestone should not bear his name, merely the phrase ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water’. Fugitive indeed.

From the Back Cover

‘…Oh, never will the prize,
High reason, and the lore of good and ill
Be my award! Things cannot to the will
Be settled, but they tease us out of thought.’

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