from The Examiner - 1st December 1816
Hunt reviews Keats's first volume of poetry. Their friendship
inevitably linked Keats to Hunt's politics, an association which
angered the poet.
Wilson Croker, from The Quarterly Review - April 1818
Croker's review of Keats's first volume of poems is
mostly concerned with attacking Leigh Hunt's poetry. He also
admits that he didn't bother reading most of Endymion before
writing the review.
'He [Keats] cannot indeed write a sentence, but
perhaps he may be able to spin a line,' writes Croker.
Gibson Lockhart, from Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine -
'It is a better and wiser thing to be a starved
apothecary than a starved poet; so back to the shop Mr John, back to
"plasters, pills, and ointment boxes," &c.', Lockhart writes, and
he also attacks Keats's choice of companions.
This vituperative review was originally published
under the pseudonym 'Z'.
What did Keats think of the Quarterly and Edinburgh?
On 8 October 1818, Keats
referred to the savage reviews of Endymion
in a letter to his publisher, James Hessey:
or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in
the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own Works. My own
domestic criticism has given me pain without comparison beyond what
Blackwood or the Quarterly could possibly inflict.'
And here are two excerpts
he wrote to his brother George in 1819:
'I have no doubt of
success in a course of years if I persevere - but it must be patience -
for the Reviews have enervated and made indolent mens minds - few think
for themselves - These Reviews too are getting more and more powerful
and especially the Quarterly - They are like a superstition which the
more it prostrates the Crowd and the longer it continues the more
powerful it becomes just in proportion to their increasing weakness - I
was in hopes that when people saw, as they must do now, all the
trickery and iniquity of these Plagues they would scout them, but no
they are like the spectators at the Westminster cock-pit - they like
the battle and do not care who wins or who loses - ' (February 1819)
'The Edinburgh review are
afraid to touch upon my Poem - They do not know what to make of it -
they do not like to condemn it and they will not p[r]aise it for fear -
They are as shy of it as I should be of wearing a Quaker's hat - The
fact is they have no real taste - they dare not compromise their
Judgements on so puzzling a Question - If on my next Publication they
should praise me and so lug in Endymion - I will address [them] in a
manner they will not at all relish - The Cowardliness of the Edinburgh
is worse than the abuse of the Quarterly.' (September 1819)
Byron, various writings about John Keats
Read excerpts from Byron's letters about his
contemporary, as well as his brief poem, John Keats, and the
canto of Don Juan which also mentions the poet.