Nicholas Roe's new biography of John Keats: A New Life, researched in minute detail, still resides on my desk, awaiting shelving. Roe employs a technique used by Hilaire Belloc, a sneakers-on-the-ground intimacy, complete with geography and weather. Brilliant! Roe does err in using some slang ("bang-up" and "box-office smash"), perhaps in an unfortunate attempt to appeal to a broad audience. But this is a pettifoggery. I am not worthy to unlace Roe's hiking shoes. This is a terrific book for lovers of Keats and, as Sergeant Hathaway of "Inspector Lewis" says of the other Romantic writers, "the rest of the guys in the band."
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