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Re: Gary Higginson's review of British Orchestral Premieres
The background information supplied by Nick Barnard is illuminating. I had, by the way, forgotten that Keats actually took the story from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1628). He did, however, change it to introduce the ambivalent elements that make it so troubling. The poem was among the last Keats wrote, and, in view of his (rather horrific) medical training in hospital, he must have known he was dying. So, as Merryn Howell suggested, there was probably a deep correspondence between the import of the poem and Dorothy Howell's conception of her work.
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