Anahid Nersessian claims that her book is a kind of love story between her and Keats’ odes. But it turns out we have to take her word for that. Too often this study comes off like an acrimonious couple’s counseling session.
Keats is comfortable in that ambiguous space between reality and the imagination, and you will find no finer example of Romantic poetry when he fuses them in the language of an erotic dream.
There is a steadiness about Nicholas Roe’s writing that is deceptive; the life in the Life does not jump off the page, but it accumulates during the reading so that something of what it felt like to be around John Keats remains, as things do when truly experienced.