Magdalena Ostas deposited Keats’s Voice in the group CLCS Romantic and 19th-Century on MLA Commons 1 year, 10 months ago
Keats’s poetic thoughts on the topic of human identity remain some of Romanticism’s most incisive reflections on the constitution of selfhood. This essay is about the ways Keats’s verse thinks through questions about human subjectivity and its horizons with an imaginative range. Keats famously asserts that the poetical character has “no identity” and allows his characters and speakers to dissolve into or be absorbed by other beings. From the early experiments to the Spring Odes, Keats’s poems are populated by selves that are empty and have been hollowed out by the chameleon poet, but his poetic persona can also come forward as vital, energetic, effusive, and abundant. Readers of Keats have claimed that his verse is constitutively bound to a logic of the self’s internalization and—with equal conviction—they have argued that Keats offers a critique of the self’s autonomy and independence in the world. This essay attends to the very breadth of literary thinking that constitutes Keats’s active struggles with questions of human subjectivity.