Keats Goes Global: The Geopolitics of Poetic Production

Dissertation, New York University (2002)

In this dissertation I situate Keats's relation to 'emergent globalization' vis-a-vis his figurative experience of a private traumatism---that is, his desire to cure his dead mother/brother by means of a globally distributed mission civilisatrice, a curative aesthetic of Taste dedicated to the cultivation of a sentimental ideology of Love. I employ an estranging 'spatial' methodology in order to displace canonical readings of Keats by closely re-reading the Odes from 'repressed' perspectives: the under-read Ode to Indolence and the professionalized, dramatic style instanced by Lamia. The latter, and not To Autumn, emerges as Keats's reflexive understanding of his sociopolitical position as producer. Keatsian reflexivity enables me to interrogate the developmental schema constraining Keats Studies as a hood-winking effected by a savvy 'marketing' strategy. Autumns dying fall is demystified as a self-advertisement for 'John Keats, the ripened poet.' So too, a negatively capable Truth and Beauty---"the true voice of [sentimental] feeling"---is fore-grounded as a 'soft' ideology in the service of a cultural re-formation of others within and without Great Britain: a possessively individualistic "System of Soul-making". To resuscitate global anxieties and defenses, fantasies and insights is, I argue, to question the privative aesthetic judgement Keats attempts to induce via the Odes, and to retrieve Lamia as a production of dramatic affects placed into circulation by the print, agitation and rumor enabled by imperial networking. A 'populist' Keats, then, contra Keats as a conquistador of the Canon
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