La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats

My comic-book adaptation of the poem “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by John Keats (1819). The originals of some of these drawings were included in the “Illustrating Keats” exhibit which took place at the Keats-Shelley House in Rome in 2012. A French translation of this comic will be included in volume two of Le Canon Graphique (editions Télémaque), which is due to hit bookstores in the fall of 2013. http://www.canongraphique.com/# labelledame1labelledame2labelledame3labelledame4labelledame5labelledame6labelledame7labelledame8labelledame9
(Click on images to enlarge)

40 Responses to La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats

  1. Paola says:

    Oh my god ! I’m doing a project on this poem and this was so beautiful and helpful ! thank you! I love your art

    Like

  2. Oh, gosh, it would be “epic” if you were to graphically portray that preface!!!

    Like

  3. Your interpretation has opened up the poem in an entirely new way for me. I’d never thought about its evident close relation to Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” until your rendering helped me “see” the poem anew. Can’t wait to share with my students!

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    • Thanks! That’s good to hear. “Kubla Khan” is the longer poem that I was thinking of adapting next, and I’d be very curious to know how you see it as being in close relation to this work by Keats.

      Like

    • “a vision in a dream”, “But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
      Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
      A savage place! as holy and enchanted
      As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
      By woman wailing for her demon-lover!”, “ancestral voices prophesying war”, “tA damsel with a dulcimer In a vision once I saw/ It was an Abyssinian maid”, “Beware, beware, his wild eyes, his floating hair”, “for he on honey dew has fed” : in general, Keats and Coleridge connections among sexuality, war and artistic creation. I was also thinking of Odysseus/Penelope/Calypso as well as Aeneas and Dido: Love or war, duty or adventure?

      Like

  4. Claire S. Warren says:

    That’s okay — send them on!

    Like

  5. Claire S. Warren says:

    Oh, I’ll take a zine. What’s the next step!?

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  6. Claire S. Warren says:

    Where can I get a copy of the English version? I’ve been asking for ages!

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  7. Love this- thank you! I am going to use it in a classroom with my Year 12 class to help them interpret the poem in preparation for their exams!:)

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  8. Claire S. Warren says:

    Oh, just reread your Keats. PLEASE. What do we need to do to see these published and sold?!

    Like

  9. Mike Groom says:

    Love the visuals you’ve brought to the poem. I’m adapting a loose adaptation of this poem as a short film. I’m currently seeking the last injection of funds on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1uG358j If anyone reading this is a fan of John Keats and this poem, please help make it happen!

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  10. Pingback: Comic-book Keats – a new way to prevent the ‘end of poetry’? | No more wriggling out of writing ……

  11. Pingback: Comic book based on Prufrock going viral | Tribrach

  12. Vishy says:

    Totally awesome, Julian! ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ is one of my favourite poems. Your beautiful comics does wonderful justice to the poem.

    Like

  13. frogboots says:

    Wonderful! Count me among those who love your work and have bookmarked your page. I cannot wait to see the rest of Prufrock.

    Like

  14. Seshadri Desikan, India says:

    you have brought a new dimension to appreciation of poetry. As many others, I too have
    been transported to my college days that was nearly five decades back. Word is a poor
    vehicle of thought to express my thanks to you.

    Like

  15. I love Keats, and this is just beautiful. I really have nothing more to say. Thank you.

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    • Thanks! “all ye need to know,” as he said.😉

      Like

    • G. Sai Saravanan says:

      Julian, Excellent! All those forgotten images and impressions in our minds, now unfolding before our eyes! As though Keats was himself showing us his mind….You have taken us into those mindscapes where the words used to take us and brought forth those hidden images! Thanks, we are travelling back to our school days with you…Your illustrations are life-like and marvellous indeed! Keep the good work going.
      Sai Saravanan, India

      Like

  16. sabrafiala says:

    Just absolutely beautiful!
    Best discovery of the day!

    Like

  17. Just absolutely beautiful!

    Like

  18. Subhankar De says:

    Julian
    I don’t know what to say! This is fantastic! Animating Eliot (and other poets) with such clarity… I have just seen your Website, I have bookmarked it, and I will explore it one by one… I just wanted to say Thank you… This is a real good work!!!

    Like

  19. redjim99 says:

    Great drawings to go with this wonderful piece.

    Jim

    Like

  20. Ann Randall says:

    This has always been one of my favorite poems. Your graphic interpretation of it has moved me to tears. Thank you.

    Like

  21. Melissa says:

    I would also like to know about how to purchase prints. Your work is inspired, and would make wonderful gifts this holiday season.

    Like

  22. Symon Vegro says:

    Hello. I’ve just emailed you. This looks wonderful and I’d like to buy two copies (and some others too) but can’t work out how! Please let me know. Thank you. Symon

    Like

  23. C says:

    I love the concept and the execution you’ve done. It’s delightful. As another commenter said, it’s also a potentially wonderful bridge between the abstract and the concrete. Would you mind if I used this in an English ESL class as an introduction to poetry, with the proper citations, of course?

    Like

  24. Thanks, Giuseppe. I’m excited too. Let me know as soon as you have an official announcement up about the exhibition, and I’ll post it in my blog.

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  25. Everyone at the Keats-Shelley House in Rome is excited about displaying your pages from “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” in our forthcoming exhibition on “Illustrating Keats” (April to November 2012). Keep up the great work Julian!

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  26. Thanks, Amanda. That’s really nice to know. It was definitely one of my hopes in making these comics that they could serve a pedagogical purpose. I think people often first learn to appreciate poetry through an ability to visualize the amazing imagery that it can evoke in the mind’s eye.

    Like

  27. Amanda says:

    This is brilliant. I am working with an 11 year old boy on this poem and he was having real difficulty until he was able to access the poem through your drawings. Thanks very much.

    Amanda

    Like

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