By Richard Marggraf Turley
For plenty of readers, John Keats's success is to have attainted a best poetic adulthood at so younger an age. Canonical poems of resignation and popularity akin to 'To Autumn' are commonly noticeable as examples par excellence of this adulthood. during this hugely leading edge learn, although, Marggraf Turley examines how, for Keats, an insistence on 'boyishness' in the course of obvious mature imagery is the very essence of his political contestation of the literary institution.
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Extra info for Keats's Boyish Imagination: The Politics of Immaturity (Routledge Studies in Romanticism)
22). One would have to be patient indeed, since while it is possible to watch a last ‘oozing’, ‘oozings’, with its deferring plural, implies that there will always be another drop to issue from the press. ‘Lastness’ in Keats’s poem begins to appear as a progressive, unended condition. ’ As in the Chamber of Maiden-Thought, ‘Full-grown lambs’: immaturity and ‘To Autumn’ 37 then, the climate in the second stanza of ‘To Autumn’ is one of delay, postponement, and arrested development. By the third stanza, the ‘songs of spring’ have given way to the music of autumn with its ‘wailful choir’ of small gnats (l.
24 Alongside Keats’s bashfulness about his height, we find occasional moments of ebullient, inviolable confidence, such as his conviction that he would be counted ‘among the English poets’ (Letters, I, 394) after his death when there ‘Strange longings’: Keats and feet 25 was little evidence to suggest it at the time. Such claims could be said to form a megalomaniacal counter to more familiar moments of low self-esteem. Keats’s grand plan in 1817 to compose a huge poem (Endymion) that would be ‘4000 Lines’ long (Letters, I, 170), is a case in point.
Dost thou now lave thy feet and ankles white? O think how sweet to me the freshening sluice! (Endymion, II, 317–26; my emphasis) The use of the unusual, poetic ‘lave’ in both Mary Frogley’s valentine and Endymion (a noun in the former, a verb in the latter) suggests that the episodes were linked in Keats’s mind. It is not unreasonable to surmise that each scene describes the same event: foot washing. Miriam Allott cites Spenser’s Epithalamion (‘Her paps lyke lillies budded’, l. 176), as a source for the disputed passage, and a traditional reading of the valentine discovers a venerable literary convention in the comparison of Mary’s breasts with ‘twin water lilies’ (l.