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The Review of English Studies: A Keatsian Field Trip

21 March 2012

In this OUPblog post, the authors of a new paper in The Review of English Studies reflect upon their trip to Winchester; walking in Keats' footsteps to discover the real source of his inspiration for "To Autumn".

"Arriving at Hampshire Public Records Office during lunch-hour, we decided to do what tourists do, and follow the route of Keats’s immortal walk from the city cathedral down along the water meadows (whose cornfields are the traditionally accepted site of inspiration for the ode), to the hospital of St Cross Hospital, and back. On the way, we passed the same bookshop, now P&G Wells, in College Street that Keats used in lieu of a “tolerable library”. In the window was Winchester University Press’s facsimile reprint of Charles Ball’s Descriptive Walks (1818), the tourist guide book thought to have provided Keats with his itinerary. Having purchased our copy, we promptly decamped to a pub opposite, where we indulged in the last oozings of the cider press. Two pints on, we noticed something odd in the frontispiece to Ball....."

Read the full blog post: A Keatsian Field Trip

Read the paper: Keats, ‘To Autumn’, and the New Men of Winchester (free online for a limited time)

Telegraph - Cornfield in Keats poem rediscovered under car park

Daily Mail - Ode to NCP? How cornfield which inspired 1819 poem by Keats is now a multi-storey car park