Poems

KEATS, John

KEATS'S FIRST BOOK OF POEMS

KEATS, John Poems

C. & J. Ollier, 1817.

First edition. Original publisher's plain grey boards with original title label. Wood engraving of Edmund Spencer to the title page. A very good copy with repairs to the the front joint and base of the spine. Rear joint with split at the base and spine darkened, but boards clean and well preserved. Internally, front hinge cracked, but notably clean and fresh. A well preserved example of Keats' first work, seldom encountered in an original state.

Keats's first book, published on 3 March 1817 by Charles and James Ollier, who were already publishing Shelley. The first of a mere three lifetime publications, it is a work of mainly youthful promise – Keats had appeared for the first time in print less than a year earlier, with a poem in the radical weekly The Examiner on 5 May 1816. The 1817 Poems attracted a few good reviews, but these were followed by the first of several harsh attacks by the influential Blackwood's Magazine, mainly by critics who resented Keats's avowed kinship with the despised Leigh Hunt. The best-known poem in the book is the sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer", "by common consent one of its masterpieces in this form, having a close unsurpassed for the combined qualities of serenity and concentration" (Colvin), and described by ODNB as "an astonishing achievement, with a confident formal assurance and metaphoric complexity which make it one of the finest English sonnets. As Hunt generously acknowledged, it 'completely announced the new poet taking possession' (Hunt, Lord Byron, 249)" (ODNB).

Stock ID: 36224

£47,500.00

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