Romantic critics have traditionally viewed Keats as a master of the lyrical“still object” and his Hyperion as a narrative failure. In this article, I aim to present a different Keats, one whose work, moreover,sheds light on the relationship between our making sense of the world (as a time-space construct) and the development of narrative modes in the long poem. In exploring the time-space poetics of Keats's Hyperion, this essay takes as its point of departure the narrative questions posed by the shift from the classical model of Enlightenment epic to the Romantic long poem, and so connects Keats's narrative experimentation to a new (Romantic) paradigm. Throughout, the central question is why and to what effect space became the focus of this paradigmatic shift in the composition of the long poem. Various possibilities of space poetics are examined, always (unlike Joseph Frank's“spatial form”) as an interaction of the axes of world and composition, as well as in relation to temporality. Time-space organization functions in this context as an image of the world and as a device for activating the reader. Historically, the changing hierarchy between world and composition and their interplay with time should also enable us to trace(dis)continuities between the Romantic model and its (post)modernist variants.
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Research Article| March 01 2001
Keats's Hyperion: Time, Space, and the Long Poem
Poetics Today (2001) 22 (1): 89–127.
Lilach Lachman; Keats's Hyperion: Time, Space, and the Long Poem. Poetics Today 1 March 2001; 22 (1): 89–127. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-22-1-89
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