link | “Keats, ‘To Autumn’, and the New Men of Winchester” by Turley, Archer, and Thomas

A fascinating look into the physical and social context of Winchester, amidst which Keats was inspired to write his ode ‘To Autumn’.

This article by Richard Marggraf Turley, Jayne Elizabeth Archer, and Howard Thomas appeared in the Oxford University’s Review of English Studies (Vol 63, Issue 262, November 2012). It has been made available for free in honour of the bicentenary of Keats’ death.

Keats, ‘To Autumn’, and the New Men of Winchester

link | Alderney stamps commemorating Keats’ Odes

We shall have to consider Alderney, one of the Channel Islands, an honorary Keats Location! On 24 July 2019, the Guernsey Post released a set of six postage stamps commemorating the six lyric odes Keats wrote in 1819.

There is nothing (that I’m aware of) to indicate that Keats ever visited or had any connection with Alderney. I wondered if his ship, the Maria Crowther, might have put in there during his last voyage to Naples. However, the ship stayed close to the English coast due to challenging weather, and only started sailing south after Portland Harbour. The voyage is then described as passing the tip of Brittany before reaching the Bay of Biscay, which indicates that they passed by the Channel Islands at some distance.

Anyway! Why do any of us need a “reason” to commemorate our beloved English poet? Keats is probably best known by the mainstream population for these six odes, written in what biographer Robert Gittings called his “Living Year”, when he was 23 years old. This “Alderney issue” was designed by Keith Robinson, and features lovely illustrations that include Keats himself along with imagery drawn from the poems.

I have copied below the images from the Guernsey Post website, without permission but with the greatest respect and gratitude. Follow the link below the images to visit the site itself!

The six stamps, honouring Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode on Indolence, Ode on Melancholy, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode to Psyche, and To Autumn.
The First Day Cover.
The stamps in sheets of ten, along with further details.
The “Prestige Booklet”, featuring the same design as the presentation pack folder.

200th Anniversary of John Keats “Odes To A…”