Keats, Hegel, and belated mythography
Duke University Press
45 - 61
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This essay aims to contribute to a growing body of criticism devoted to the paradox of John Keats's peculiarly political aestheticism. Keats places a seemingly disinterested aestheticism squarely within the matrix of history, at a time when history itself was coming into its own as a philosophical category. Hyperion's figurations share the theoretical horizon of Keats's contemporaries in post-Kantian philosophy and betray a concern with one of the formative impulses behind Hegel's system-building: the interplay of myth and rationality. Reading Hyperion in comparison with a line of dialectical thinkers from Schiller to Adorno, I locate Keats's engagement with history precisely where he appears to suspend it: in those sculptural figurations of stasis in which the poem depicts, and to no small degree fetishizes, the archaic. An ironic myth of myth's demise, Hyperion exposes the fetishism latent in post-Enlightenment mythography.