John Keats remains one of the most familiar and beloved of English poets, but has received surprisingly little critical attention in recent years. This study is a fresh contribution to Keats criticism and Romantic scholarship, positioning Keats as a figure of philosophical interest who warrants renewed attention.
Exploring Keats’s own Romantic accounts of feeling and thinking, this study draws a connection between poetry and the phenomenological branches of modern philosophy. The study takes Keats’s poetic evocation of touching hands, wandering feet, beating hearts and breathing bodies as a descriptive elaboration of consciousness and a phenomenological account of experience. The philosophical terms of analysis adopted here challenge the orthodoxies of Keats scholarship, traditionally characterised by the careful historicisation of a limited canon. The philosophical framework of analysis enhances the readings put forward, while Keats’s poems, in turn, serve to give fuller expression of those ideas themselves. Using Keats as a particular case, this book also demonstrates the ways in which theory and philosophy supplement literary scholarship.