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London: for C. & J. Ollier, 1817 - Octavo (160 × 98 mm) in fours. Bound by Riviere & Son, c.1900, in dark red crushed morocco in the Jansenist manner, plain raised bands, spine titled and dated in gilt, gilt inner dentelles, green endpapers, gilt edges. Binding a little rubbed in places and very slightly darkened, internally clean, an excellent copy. Woodcut portrait vignette on title, without half-title. First edition of Keats's first book. Poems was 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 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). "The poem is 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). Ashley II, p. 9; MacGillivray 1; Sterling 521.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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