Shelley and Keats as They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly from Manuscript Sources

Shelley and Keats as They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly from Manuscript Sources

Shelley and Keats as They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly from Manuscript Sources

Shelley and Keats as They Struck Their Contemporaries: Notes Partly from Manuscript Sources

Excerpt

That the contents of these notes, selected from a variety of literary allusions which it has been the editor's habit to gather, will be entirely new to those who can play the posthumous Boswell to the two great poets concerned, is not the basis of their publication. Some of them were found in manuscript, yet the zealous investigation which is continually and admirably proceeding may have discerned these already. When, however, I have read an unfamiliar memoir or notice of Keats or Shelley, especially from a writer acquainted with one or the other, or the circle to which they belonged--the circle so dissatisfying to later observers, no doubt better qualified to have formed it, I have transcribed it. It is not invariably found that biographers, in embodying "materials" by contemporaries of their worthies, improve upon their value: the form of expression which originally was used may of itself be revelative of period and personal relationship. It is necessary in this brief life to condense and adapt much so that a biographical work may not exceed a practical size, not to discuss the other reasons which a special approach or aim supplies. But, given the large and authoritative surveys, it is a natural pleasure to view parts of the detail in minute fashion; and perhaps here and there we may be more safely and vividly guided by old inhabitants, not previously attended to.

And thus, does the ordinary enthusiastic reader of lives of Shelley think of Thornton Hunt as the writer . . .

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