Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

Dear MKP Reader....

Dear MKP Reader,

Welcome, and please feel free to jump into any of the 150+ micro-chapters of MKP along the chronology, into any time or place—explore a year, a month, a day. If you are here, chances are you are interested in John Keats. If not—well, you should be. The Index or Search function will help if you are looking for something specific.

An attempt is made to render at least one part or aspect of Keats’s whole story at almost every stop you’ll make, with the hope you will never be completely lost. Most of the chapters after 1815 offer context, commentary, and my critical views on Keats’s poetry and poetic development, with a measured amount of overlapping narrative and information. Thus the structure of the site—progressive reduplication, I’ll call it—signals that it is fine to move consecutively or randomly, forwards or backwards—just to see how our dear poet is doing. One thing is very clear: during his adult life, Keats thinks a great deal about poetry and about becoming a poet: at moments (and sometimes at the same moment, and with conflicted feelings) it excites him, overwhelms him, makes him anxious, comforts him, depresses him, obsesses him. He loves his siblings (George, Tom, and Fanny), and for the most part he greatly enjoys his crucial network of interesting and supportive friends that quickly develops during late 1816. But the drive to write enduring poetry, to develop an independent voice and poetical character, works itself into much of what he thinks about. Many of Keats’s comments on poetry, almost exclusively in his letters, can be found in the “Select Chronology & Key Comments” column beside each year, organized by month, and this Chronology offers its own kind of narrative; but Keats’s early poetry, too, often literally pictures a young man looking around, somewhat randomly, in search of a subject, a voice, and a form, and this also constitutes the story of his poetic progress.

You will also find a fairly extensive bibliography (Resources) on the site, and scrolling through the Gallery you can glance at numerous versions and perversions of Keats’s image. There are even a couple of pretty good tattoos of Keats. A personography is also embedded, so every time someone is mentioned that a novice Keatsian might not know anything about, a scroll-over of their name will render a pop-up biography. Again, the idea is that the you will never be totally lost in exploring the site.

Finally, I should also add that, at this point, MKP is in beta version, with corrections and minor design issues being sorted out as I write; this will continue into early 2019.

Yours truly,


PS And something about yours truly: I am Professor of English at the University of Victoria. I have written books on William Wordsworth and Percy Shelley, as well as edited books on Shelley and 19th-century poetry. I have also co-written two books on writing. My interest in Keats goes back (way back) to a MA dissertation I wrote (comparing Keats and Shelley) at the University College of North Wales. I completed a PhD at the University of Southampton, and was lucky enough to be supervised by Derek Attridge and Isobel Armstrong.

PPS Please feel free to write with comments and suggestions.