The Texts of Keats's Poems (Hardcover)
Harvard University Press, 9780674875111, 320pp.
Publication Date: January 31, 1974
Jack Stillinger's concern is with the words of Keats's texts: "I wish," he says, "to get rid of the wrong ones and to suggest how to go about constructing texts with a greater proportion of the right ones." He finds that in the two best modern editions of Keats, one third of the texts have one or more wrong words. Modern editors have sometimes based their texts on inferior holograph, transcript, or printed versions; sometimes combined readings from separate versions; sometimes retained words added by copyists and early editors (who frequently made "improvements" when they thought the poems needed them); and sometimes, of course, introduced independent errors of their own.
The heart of this book is a systematic account of the textual history of each of the 150 poems that can reasonably be assigned to Keats. In each history Stillinger dates the work, as closely as it can be dated; gives the details of first publication; specifies the existing variant readings and their sources; and suggests what might be the basis for a standard text.