Final Thoughts on NegCap from KLP Editors

RE: Keats’s 21-27 December letter to George and Tom Keats

To quick off our series of posts commemorating and reflecting upon Keats’s negative capability letter, one half of the KLP editorial team (Ian Newman, Kate Singer, and Michael Theune) shared their opening thoughts. Now to wrap things up, the other half of the team (Anne McCarthy, Brian Rejack, and Emily Stanback) will offer some final thoughts! The three of them got together virtually (via group message), and in the spirit of Keatsian epistolarity, we offer here our best attempt to capture something like the 21st-century equivalent of the breezy conversationalism of Keats’s letters.

As you’ll see below, we also wanted to have some space to talk about the ‘Immortal Dinner,’ which occurred on 28 December 1817 (just a day or two after Keats coined negative capability). Keats writes about this shindig in his 5 January 1818 letter, so we’ll hear more about it then. You can read Haydon’s more thorough account here, as told in his 1853 Autobiography (based on Haydon’s contemporaneous diary entries, but expanded later on–1841 for the section on the dinner). Now that the negative capability celebration has come to an end, why not raise a glass in commemoration of the immortal dinner–you know that Keats and Lamb would!

And now Anne, Brian, and Emily will take it away with their convo…


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