Penguin Little Black Classic No.13: The Eve of St Agnes

keats

THE EVE OF ST AGNES BY JOHN KEATS

I read this in a couple of hours on the train coming back from seeing Morrissey in Cardiff. Moz would be proud! I have only ever read the odd line and letter by Keats and have vowed this year to fully discover the Romantic poet’s best work. This seemed an easy place to start. Sort of. Due to the age of the language in these selected poems published in 1820, I had some difficulty following the plot and had to do a bit of online research to aid my comprehension.

The Eve of St Agnes is a 42 stanza poem based on the superstition that a girl could see her future husband in a dream if she performed certain rituals on the Eve of St. Agnes. This meant going to bed without any supper, laying on her bed completely naked with her hands under the pillow and looking up to the heavens. The proposed husband would then appear in her dream, kiss her, and feast with her. In Keats’ poem the girl is Madeline who pines for the love of Porphyro.

Although I stumbled on the plot, I just loved reading the beautiful words, so lyrical and sensual.

But no – already had his deathbell rung, the joys of all his life were said and sung Continue reading

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Classic Morrissey

AUTOBIOGRAPHY BY MORRISSEY

Morrissey book plans back on track

A lot has been said in the press about this book, mainly by the most boring of Morrissey naysayers. Lazy headlines and ignorant opinions filled papers and websites by nobody journalists who flicked through the 457 pages trying to find the “revelations,” This book is not about revelations, we know most of this stuff, it’s about the world through Moz’s eyes which often feels like the world through our own eyes which is why we remain true to him. Viva Moz!

Here are my personal highlights from the book published, very deservedly, as a Penguin Classic:

1. Birds abstain from song in post-war industrial Manchester, where the 1960s will not swing, and where the locals are the opposite of worldly (page 4)

2. Miss Redmond is ageing, and will never marry, and will die smelling of attics (page 10)

3. Every house has a face, and the eyes of 10 Trafalgar Square were already closed (page 34)

moz young

4. Nannie is gone to the world with a satisfied Embassy wheeze whistling in rhythm to the bedside clock, her night-light pointing the way to cough sweets, Holy water, milk of magnesia and Germolene – the vital accoutrements for anticipated midnight peril (page 34) Continue reading