John Keats, A Longman Cultural Edition

John J Keats / Susan J. Wolfson  
Total pages
November 2006
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From Longman's Cultural Editions series, John Keats, edited by Susan J. Wolfson, is the first edition organized to give a sense of the poet's thinking by interspersing letters, poems, and publications of reviews and contemporary works.


This is a new event in editions of Keats, arranged not in the usual way of separating these writings, but rather by positioning them alongside the author's poems in order of composition or appearance in print, for a more holistic understanding of Keats's work.  Editor Susan Wolfson has taken care that all poems and letters have been freshly edited from their sources, and the manuscripts reflect scriptive elements such as cross-outs and underlines.  This edition also includes some unusual contextual writings, including newspaper reviews of Keats's publications.


Handsomely produced and affordably priced, each Cultural Edition consists of the complete text of an important literary work, reliably edited, headed by an inviting introduction, supplemented by helpful annotations, accompanied by a table of significant dates and a guide for further study, then followed by contextual materials that reveal the conversations and controversies of its historical moment.


One Longman Cultural Edition can be packaged at no additional cost with any volume of The Longman Anthology of British Literature by Damrosch et al, or at a discount with any other Longman textbook.


See all the Longman Cultural Editions at


  • Contextual materials include the newspaper articles that presented Keats's first publications and his poetry reviews, as well as the magazine article that conveyed the first publication of his strange and haunting ballad, La Belle Dame sans Mercy.
  • Biographies, memoirs, and scholarly essays from the first century after Keats's death that brought new work to attention are also featured.
  • Related works of contemporary poetry include samples of Chapman's Homer and Pope's Homer, and the sonnets by competing poets in the contests that produced some of Keats's finest work.
  • Illustrations include photoplates of manuscripts that show Keats's original work.
  • Glossaries of mythological and contemporary references demystify archaic allusions.
  • Annotations identify the many new words or word-forms that Keats brought to the English language. 
  • An Index of titles, first lines, and key topics references the ideas about poetry for which Keats has become famous.

Table of Contents

About Longman Cultural Editions


About this Volume

Texts, acknowledgments



List of Illustrations

          Keats / cover Frank Dicksee, La Belle Dame

cover or frontispiece: (Charles Brown's charcoal sketch)

Title page of Poems (1817)

          Ms of letter to Reynolds, 19 February 1818

Title page of Endymion (1818)

          Ms of a stanza of Ode on Melancholy

Title page of Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820)



Table of Dates




From The Examiner 5 May 1816: To Solitude

Letters to Benjamin Robert Haydon, 20 and 21 November 1816

FromThe Examiner, 1 December 1816: Leigh Hunt, “Young Poets” (On First Looking into Chapman's Homer)

§ Pope's Homer / Chapman's Homer

From The Examiner 23 February 1817: “After dark vapours”


From Poems (1817)

Dedication. To Leigh  Hunt, Esq.

“I stood tip-toe”

§ Wordsworth on the origin of mythology, The Excursion, Book IV

Imitation of Spenser


I:  To My Brother George

II:  To *** (“Had I a man's fair form”)

III. Written on the day that Mr. Leigh Hunt left prison

IV.  “How many Bards . . .”

V. To a Friend who Sent me some Roses

VIII.  To My Brothers

IX.  “Keen, fitful gusts”

X.  “To one who has been long in city pent”

XIII.  Addressed to Haydon (“Highmindedness, a jealousy for good”)

XIV.  Addressed to the Same (“Great spirits”)

XV.  On the Grasshopper and the Cricket

          §Leigh Hunt, To the Grasshopper and the Cricket

XVII. “Happy is England!”

Sleep and Poetry


From The Examiner, 9 March 1817: To Haydon, with a sonnet written on seeing the Elgin Marbles

Letter to John Hamilton Reynolds, 17-18 April 1817

Letter to Leigh Hunt, 10 May 1817

Letter to B.R. Haydon, 10-11 May 1817

Letter to John Taylor & James Augustus Hessey, 16 May 1817

From The Champion 17 August 1817:  On the Sea

Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 21 September 1817

Letter to B. Bailey, 8 October 1817

§ Hunt attacked in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine (October 1817)

Letters to B. Bailey, 3  and 22 November 1817

To J.H. Reynolds 22 November 1817

From The Champion, 13 December 1817: Dramatic Review: Mr. Kean

Letter to George and Tom Keats, 21 & ?27 December, 1817


Further poetry, written in 1816-1817, published posthumously

“In a drear-nighted December (The Gem, 1830)

“O Chatterton!” (1848)

“Byron!” (1848)

Ode to Apollo  (1848)

Written in disgust of Vulgar Superstition (Poetic Works, 1876)

“Fill for me a brimming bowl” (Notes and Queries, 1905)

On Peace (Notes and Queries, 1905)

Lines Written on the Anniversary of Charles's Restoration (Amy Lowell, John Keats [1925])

Letter to B. R. Haydon, 23 January 1818

Letter to B. Bailey, 23 January 1818

Letter to G&T Keats 23 & 24 January 1818;On Sitting down to Read King Lear Once Again

Letter to J. Taylor, 30 January 1818

Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 31 January 1818;“O blush not so,” “Hence burgundy,”  “God of the Meridian,” “When I have fears,”

§ Robin Hood Sonnets by J. H. Reynolds

Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 3 February 1818; “ answer to his Robin Hood Sonnets”

§ Sonnet-contest: Keats To the Nile; Hunt, The Nile; Shelley, To the Nile

Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 19 February 1818; “O thou whose face hath felt the winter's wind”

Letter to J. Taylor, 27 February 1818

Letter to B. Bailey, 13 March 1818

The first preface for Endymion, with title page and dedication

Letter and verse epistle to John Hamilton Reynolds, 25 March 1818

Letter to B.R. Haydon, 8 April 1818

Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 9 April 1818

Letter to J. Taylor, 24 April 1818

Letter to J.H. Reynolds, 27 April 1818

Letter to J. H. Reynolds, 3 May 1818, with “Mother of Hermes!”


          Further Poetry written January-April 1818, posthumously published

Sonnet to a Cat (Comic Annual  1830)

To-- (Time's Sea) (1848)

§  J. H. Reynolds, Sonnet

“Blue!” (1848)

§ Oscar Wilde, letter to Emma Speed, 21 March 1882, with Keats's Grave


From Endymion (1818)

Title-page, dedication, Preface

from Book I

          Keats's aspirations, opening scene (1-106)

          Endymion's malady (163-84; 392-406, 453-88, 505-15)

          Endymion's self-defense (520-857; “Pleasure Thermometer”)

          Endymion's melancholy (970-92)

from Book II

          Keats's invocation, Endymion's restlessness (1-68)

          Endymion in the underworld; the Bower of Adonis (376-529)

          Venus's assurances (573-93)

          Endymion's blissful dream of Cynthia (730-61)

from Book III

          Keats's invocation and attack on worldly monarchs (1-72)

          Glaucus's tale of his love quest and Circe's Bower (372-638)

from Book IV

          Keats's invocation, Endymion finds an Indian Maid (20-66)

          Endymion's rapture with this maid (84-119, 293-313)

Endymion's dream of his Moon Goddess; the Cave of Quietude (497-554)

                   Endymion gives up, happy conclusion (961-end).


Letter to B. Bailey, 21 & 25 May 1818

Letter to B. Bailey, 10 June 1818

Letter to Fanny Keats, 3 July 1818, with “There was a naughty boy”

Letter to B. Bailey 18 & 22 July 1818

§ “The Cockney School of Poetry, No. 4.” Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, August 1818

Letter to Charles Wentworth Dilke, 20-21 September 1818

Letter to J. H. Reynolds 22(?) September 1818

§ Pierre de Ronsard, Les Amours de Cassandre, Sonet II

Keats's “free translation” of Ronsard

§ Article on Endymion, Quarterly Review XIX (c. 27 September)

Letter to James Hessey, 8 October 1818

Letter to George & Georgiana Keats, 14- 31 October 1818

Letter to Richard Woodhouse, 27 October 1818

§ Oscar Wilde's defense of Dorian Gray, 12 July 1890

Sonnet  to Ailsa Rock (Literary Pocket  Book, 1819 [pub. late 1818])


Further poetry written in 1818, posthumously published

§ from“Mountain Scenery,” New Monthly Magazine, 1822

Lines written in the Scotch Highlands (Examiner, 1822)

On Visiting the Tomb of Burns (1848)

 “This mortal body” (1848)

“Sonnet I wrote on the top of Ben Nevis” (1848)

Fragment (“Where is the Poet?”) (1848)

Modern Love (1848)


Annotations on ParadiseLost

Letter to G. & G. Keats, 14 February-3 May 1819;“Why did I laugh tonight?”, “As Hermes once” (on a dream of Dante's Paolo and Francesca), La Belle Dame sans Merci, two sonnets on “Fame,” “To Sleep,” “If by dull rhymes”

Letters to Miss Jeffery 31 May and 9 June 1819

Letters to Fanny Brawne,  1, 8, 15, 25 July 1819

Letter to B. Bailey, 14 August 1819

Letter to J. Taylor, 23 August 1819

Letter to J. H. Reynolds, 24 August  and 21 September 1819

Letter to R. Woodhouse, 21-22 September 1819

Letter to C. W. Dilke, 22 September 1819

Letter to Charles Brown, 23 September 1819

Letter to G. (& Ga) Keats, 17-27 September 1819; “Pensive they sit.”

Letters to F. Brawne, 13 and 19 October 1819

“The day is gone”

Letter to J. Taylor, 17 November 1819


Posthumously published poetry from 1819

To--- (“What can I do . . .?”)  (1848)

Ode on Indolence (1848)

To---- (“I cry  your mercy”) (1848)

“This living hand” (H. B. Forman, Poetical Works 1898)


Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820)



Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil, a Story from Boccaccio

§ The story of Isabella in The Decameron

Eve of St. Agnes

§  Canceled stanzas

Ode to a Nightingale

Ode on a Grecian urn

Ode to Psyche


§ “Fancy” in ParadiseLost

To Autumn

Ode on Melancholy

§ The cancelled first stanza

Hyperion. A Fragment


The Fall of Hyperion

Letter to Georgiana Keats, 13-28 January 1820

Letter to F. Brawne, ?February 1820

To Fanny (1848)

La Belle Dame sans Mercy (Indicator May 1820)

Letter to F. Brawne, before 12 August, 1820

§ Letter from Percy Bysshe Shelley, 27 July 1820

Letter to P. B. Shelley, 16 August 1820

§ from The Indicator, 20 September 1820:  Leigh Hunt's Farewell to Keats

Letter to Ch. Brown, 30 September 1820

Keats's Last Sonnet (“Bright star”) (1848)

Last letters, to Ch. Brown, November 1820 (1848)



Glossary of Mythological and Literary References


Contemporary References


Further Reading and Browsing


Index of titles, first lines, key topics

Back Cover

John Keats
A Longman Cultural Edition

Editor: Susan J. Wolfson

Affordably priced, Longman Cultural Editions present classic works in provocative and illuminating contexts-cultural, critical, and literary. Each Longman Cultural Edition consists of the complete text of a key literary work, supplemented by helpful annotations and followed by contextual materials that reveal the conversations and controversies of its historical moment.

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Susan J. Wolfson is professor of English at Princeton University. In addition to this present volume, her editorial work includes  Felicia Hemans (Princeton UP, 2000) and the Longman Cultural Edition of Frankenstein.  With Claudia Johnson, she is coeditor of the Longman Cultural Edition of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. With Peter Manning, she is coeditor of the Romantics volume in The Longman Anthology of British Literature, and Selected Poems of Lord Byron (Penguin, 2005).  Her critical books include the prize-winning Formal Charges: The Shaping of Poetry in British Romanticism (Stanford UP, 1997) and Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism (Stanford UP, 2007).