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"'I would not say it in print': Keats (avoids) crossing Wordsworth"

Abstract : This article examines John Keats’s use of the epistolary medium as a means of testing out, and of contesting, his unsettled place “among the English Poets”. More specifically, it focuses on the various, at times contradictory, critical reflections on William Wordsworth—the contemporary poet who represented the most persistent and stimulating challenge for Keats—which emerge from his private correspondence to friends and family. Significantly, it is neither in letters directly addressed to Wordsworth nor in essays intended for print that Keats carves out a space for himself as a discerning critic. At stake, here and elsewhere in Keats’s correspondence, is a project of literary prospecting played out on carefully measured epistolary grounds: with characteristic ambivalence, the self-styled “camelion Poet” playfully alludes to, appropriates and challenges, the writings of his eminent contemporary, while keeping him at a safe distance.
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Contributor : Jeremy Elprin <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 2, 2019 - 3:11:26 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 11:40:03 AM

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Jeremy Elprin. "'I would not say it in print': Keats (avoids) crossing Wordsworth". Vanessa Guignery. Crossed Correspondences: Writers as Readers and Critics of their Peers, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, pp. 43-58, 2016, 9781443886994. ⟨hal-02389450⟩

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