1820: poetics “in the spirit of outlawry”

Robinson, J. C. (2022) 1820: poetics “in the spirit of outlawry”. European Romantic Review, 33(2), pp. 157-174. (doi: 10.1080/10509585.2022.2043532)

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Far from simply a miscellany of what are now canonical poems, Keats's 1820 volume (1820) puts forward a consistent program of radical poetics. “We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us.” I argue that 1820 unfolds a theory and practice that experiment with what poetry refusing a “palpable design” might look like. The romances in 1820 are read thematically as dramas of successful or unsuccessful attempts at controlling the desires of the other. In all the poems the poet seeks to disclose in form and language something acting beyond the reach of the poet's knowledge and management. He formulates lyric poetry as ephemeral and performative, poetic language as independent of its maker's orchestration as “venturing syllables” and as “Chattertonian” (native English) and not “Miltonic” (“artful” and imposed), stanzas as occasions for expansive, that is, paratactic, syntax, and furthermore as deformances of the monumental sonnet form. This project, the article concludes, explains Keats's displeasure at his editors’ inclusion of Hyperion, a poem whose “march” is “undeviating” and written with a “god's” foreknowledge, in a book that experiments with the idea of a poet only as facilitator of an independent artistic life.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robinson, Professor Jeffrey
Authors: Robinson, J. C.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies
Journal Name:European Romantic Review
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN (Online):1740-4657
Published Online:05 April 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author
First Published:First published in European Romantic Review 33(2): 157-174
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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