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Reading The Eve of St. AgnesThe Multiples of Complex Literary Transaction$
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Jack Stillinger

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195130225

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195130225.001.0001

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The Starting Materials

The Starting Materials

Texts and Circumstances

(p.17) Two The Starting Materials
Reading The Eve of St. Agnes

Jack Stillinger

Oxford University Press

The chapter describes the poem’s milieu, and the circumstances in which John Keats penned it. “The Eve of St. Agnes” was written during Keats’s so-called “living year,” within which he produced his most admired work. The book then describes the differences between the three official material sources for the poem: Keats’ original draft, his revised manuscript’s text, and Woodhouse and Taylor’s printed version of the poem in 1820. Keats’s own comments while and just after he was creating the poem are also presented to provide the most comprehensive background for the succeeding interpretations. Due to various diverging opinions of critics and other literary experts, no single source material is designated as the official canon for the poem. Rather, readers since 1820 have freely drawn from a combination of these various sources to further their understanding of the text.

Keywords:   John Keats, St. Agnes, poem, readers, living year, 1820, Woodhouse, Taylor, source materials

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