NABOKV-L post 0014157, Thu, 23 Nov 2006 13:37:16 -0500

Subject
Re: Keats & VN & other thoughts
Date
Body
All those who love poetry should give themselves a holiday gift of John
Keats¹ Letters (see Brian Boyd ³The American Years² ref at bottom of email I
am replying to), if they don¹t own a copy already. The edition edited by
Robert Gittings is the best I have seen. Too bad the soft cover is such a
sick blue and the cover portrait is an etching (I think) that seems to have
been tinted by someone dedicated to making Keats look like Chatterton just
after Chatterton swallowed the fatal dose. I had to read it twice (but
enjoyed both readings) before I could adapt to the casual chat of the early
19nth century. But the bright light shone through at last and is well worth
the work.

Byron¹s letters are much easier to read and in some ways more enjoyable, or
at any rate less taxing. A beach book for the at least slightly brainy.
Almost all he talks about is the money he¹s being screwed out of by
publishers, all the girls he¹s trying to seduce, all the weight he¹s trying
to lose, and all the cures for gout he¹s attempted. A very modern writer.
Try reading the letters of John Wilmot, the Seventh Earl of Rochester
(recently portrayed to superb effect by the excellent Johnny Depp) if you
really want your eyes to pop out of your head. I think Wilmot, in his brief
prime, could have sat down with any of today¹s writers and sent them off
screaming. All except Martin Amis, perhaps.

Happy Thanksgiving to all Yanks, and Happy November 23rd to everyone else.

Andrew

Ps. (I know I owe a good solid reply to Matthew Ross, and, Matthew, I will
get it done as soon as I can. Sorry for delay.)


On 11/21/06 6:51 PM, "jansymello" <jansy@AETERN.US> wrote:

> CHW offered us a list of poets VN respected ( among them Keats and Browning).
> In the first part of Lolita VN made a passing mention to Hopkins and often I
> hear of "dappled" clearings which might be related to this bespeckled
> alliterative rhythmic poet.
> And yet, in ADA, his comment on "sprung rhythm" seemed rather mocking, but I
> found it difficult to judge since I cannot even imagine how Russian verse
> would sound in SR. Could you, CHW, or one among our List experts clarify ?
>
> ADA: Mlle E...could not be relied on to take over from lagging Ada with a
> breezy account of her work on a new novella of her composition (her famous
> Diamond Necklace was in the last polishing stage) or with memories of Van¹s
> early boyhood such as those eminently acceptable ones concerning his beloved
> Russian tutor, who gently courted Mlle L., wrote Œdecadent¹ Russian verse in
> sprung rhythm, and drank, in Russian solitude.
>
> Also in Pale Fire, while commenting on Goethe's poem (lines 653-664), Kinbote
> observes that:"one cannot sufficiently admire the ingenious way in which
> Shade manages to transfer something of the broken rhythm of the ballad (a
> trisyllabic meter at heart) into his iambic verse". He then uses a punctuation
> that is vaguely suggestive of distorted Hopkins stresses ( & I hope I've been
> also vague enough to signal my ignorance on the subject)
>
> 662 Who rídes so láte in the níght and the wínd
> 663 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> 664 . . . . Ít is the fáther wíth his chíld
>
> Goethe's two lines opening the poem come out most exactly and beautifully,
> with the bonus of an unexpected rhyme (also in French: vent-enfant), in my
> own language:
> Ret wóren ok spóz on nátt ut vétt?
> Éto est vótchez ut míd ik détt.
> How do you think did GMHopkins rate with VN?
> Jansy
> ..............................................................................
> ..............................................................................
> ..............................................................................
> ........
> CHW:" By consulting the index to Brian Boyd¹s indispensable VN, The American
> Years I was relieved to discover that Keats was that rarity, a poet and critic
> of poetry who had enjoyed what seems like VN¹s unqualified affection. There
> are four index references to Keats, four to Coleridge, two to Wordsworth,
> fifteen to Shakespeare in general, plus 20 comments on specific plays."
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