Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-558cb97cc8-7xspw Total loading time: 0.296 Render date: 2022-10-07T12:55:44.752Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

13 - Romantic poets and contemporary poetry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Maureen N. McLane
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
James Chandler
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
Get access

Summary

The Romantics among the English poets

John Keats's assertion in a letter that he would be “among the English Poets” after his death is usually understood to be a proudly defensive declaration, against attacks on his poetry in the Quarterly Review and elsewhere, that once he was dead his genius would be properly recognized and his work would become a prominent part of the canon of English Literature. “This is a mere matter of the moment,” Keats declares of his detractors' aspersions: “I think I shall be among the English Poets after my death.” One might think of Keats's sense that he will be properly recognized only after death as no more than an acknowledgment of the idea that, as Samuel Johnson put it in his 1765 “Preface to Shakespeare,” a century is “the term commonly fixed as the test of literary merit”: Keats would be recognized after his death for the simple reason that he could not be recognized before it. And some critics have argued that his comment specifically alludes to a relatively new kind of publishing venture: canon-forming, and nation-building multi-volume collections of poems by the English (or British) poets such as the 44-volume edition of The British Poets overseen by Hugh Blair (1773-6), The Works of the English Poets, with Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, by Samuel Johnson (68 volumes, 1779-81); John Bell's 109-volume The Poets of Great Britain (1777-83); and Alexander Chalmers's 21-volume The Works of the English Poets (1810). According to this reading, Keats was imagining that after his death his poems would literally take their place within the covers of such volumes alongside, or “among,” those of his beloved Shakespeare, Spenser, and Milton. But we might also understand Keats to be proposing something rather different - something that is nevertheless consequential upon the desire for his poems to be bound together with those of Shakespeare.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)
1
Cited by

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×