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Romantic voyagers voyage Romantics at literature conference

10 September 2012

Romantic voyagers voyage the Romantics at literature conference

One of the world’s leading authorities on the Romantic poet John Keats will deliver a keynote lecture at an upcoming Victoria University conference on the works and writers of the Romantic period.

Professor Nicholas Roe, from the University of St Andrews, Scotland, has published extensively on Romantic writers Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Hunt. His visit to Wellington coincides with the publication of a landmark new biography on Keats, published by Yale University Press and authored by Roe, which presents new information on Keats’ formative early years.

Victoria’s Associate Professor of English Heidi Thomson says the book, John Keats: A New Life, uncovers a wealth of detail previously unknown about Keats’ family life and friends.

“Through painstaking, thorough research, Professor Roe has unpacked Keats childhood and early life in ways other books haven’t. He had a harsh, unsettled childhood: his father died when he was eight and his mother perished from tuberculosis when he was 14. He moved a lot around London—to live with his grandmother, to go to boarding school, to different lodgings with his brothers in the City of London—and these years affected his work perhaps more than first realised.

“His take on London, for example, and the geography of the city can be seen in his poetry. But I believe this book will open up new readings and new perspectives on other elements of his works.”

The publication of this seminal book will be celebrated at a launch in advance of the conference, at noon on Thursday 27 September at Victoria University.

Following this, the two-day international conference, Romantic Voyagers—Voyaging the Romantics, hosted by Victoria University’s School of English, Film and Theatre and Media Studies and the Alexander Turnbull Library, will run from 29–30 September.

Other keynotes speakers include Professor Deirdre Coleman (from the University of Melbourne), Professor Frederick Burwick (University of California, Los Angeles), Dr Ruth Lightbourne (Alexander Turnbull Library) and Victoria University Emeritus Professor Vincent O’Sullivan.

For more information about the conference or book launch, visit


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