Keats: Book summary and reviews of Keats by Lucasta Miller

Keats

A Brief Life in Nine Poems and One Epitaph

by Lucasta Miller

Keats by Lucasta Miller X
Keats by Lucasta Miller
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  • Published Apr 2022
    368 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

A dazzling new look into the short but intense, tragic life and remarkable work of one of the greatest lyric poets of the English language, seen in a whole new light, not as the mythologized Victorian guileless nature-lover, but as the subversive, bawdy complex cynic whose life and poetry were lived and created on the edge.

In this brief life, acclaimed biographer Lucasta Miller takes nine of Keats's best-known poems—"Endymion"; "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"; "Ode to a Nightingale"; "To Autumn"; "Bright Star" among them—and excavates how they came to be and what in Keats's life led to their creation. She writes of aspects of Keats's life that have been overlooked, and explores his imagination in the context of his world and experience, paying tribute to the unique quality of his mind.

Miller, through Keats's poetry, brilliantly resurrects and brings vividly to life, the man, the poet in all his complexity and spirit, living dangerously, disdaining respectability and cultural norms, and embracing subversive politics. Keats was a lower-middle-class outsider from a tragic and fractured family, whose extraordinary energy and love of language allowed him to pummel his way into the heart of English literature; a freethinker and a liberal at a time of repression, who delighted in the sensation of the moment.

We see how Keats was regarded by his contemporaries (his writing was seen as smutty) and how the young poet's large and boisterous life—a man of the metropolis, who took drugs, was sexually reckless and afflicted with syphilis—went straight up against the Victorian moral grain; and Miller makes clear why his writing—considered marginal and avant-garde in his own day—retains its astonishing originality, sensuousness and power two centuries on.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[T]houghtful...Subtly intertwining biographical detail with crisp readings of the poetry, Miller creates an insightful, vibrant portrait." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Critic Miller considers the life of English poet John Keats (1795–1821) via nine of his poems in this detailed and original study. Melding biography, close reading, and personal essay, Miller creates an intimate account...personal sections bring in some levity to balance her taut analysis. This penetrating and charming study will enchant Keats's fans." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Keats was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Lucasta Miller

Lucasta Miller is a British literary critic who has worked for the Independent and the Guardian, and contributed to the Times (London), New Statesman, and the BBC. She lives in London with her husband, the tenor Ian Bostridge, and their two children.

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