A marvellous edition of Keats

Complete Works of John Keats (Illustrated) (Delphi Poets Series). 2012. $1.94 on Kindle

By Peter Hulm

What do we expect from an edition of Keats? All the poems helpfully organized, the plays, the letters, certainly. If possible, a decent biography, and illustrative material that brings home the distance between his time and ours.

This Delphi collection has all the poems, indexed in three useful ways: by collection, chronologically and alphabetically. Otho the Great and King Stephen are included. There are not one but three essays on his life. The poems, too, have useful contextual notes and illustrations that include a facsimile of Endymion's first page and the final photo showing the poet's grave in Rome.

There's probably more of Keats here than anyone but a scholar will have read before. For most of us it offers numerous pleasures to come, and the biographies are a salutary reminded of how slowly Keats was elevated to second place among English poets behind Shakespeare,

My only complaint: if you reverse the print to white on black for night-time reading on the iPad, large sections of the poetry are lost. The reversal has failed to work on a number of pages.

Note that you can get parts of this collection on the Kindle for free and there are smaller collections for considerably more. I couldn't see from the specimen pages what these editions give you extra for the money. For me it was worth a couple of bucks to have all the texts in one place.