"Sad Spaces of Oblivion": Keats and the Writing of Hyperion
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John Keats decided to turn to poetry merely five years before his death in 1821. Despite not enjoying extensive classical education, Keats was greatly inspired by classical mythology. The purpose of this study is to find out to what extent Keats relied on secondary reference works, such as the classical dictionaries written by Lemprière, Tooke and Spence, during the composition of the 1820 epic Hyperion: A Fragment. Moreover, this study aims to investigate the abandonment of this work by studying the stylistic influence that Milton exerted on Keats, as well as by examining this epic in the political framework in which it was written. This study offers a close reading of Hyperion, which is contrasted with the classical dictionaries as well as with Milton’s Paradise Lost. This study finds that Keats relied heavily on secondary sources for his classical knowledge, however liberally adapted classical mythology to fit better the purposes of his writing. Besides, Keats’s writing style was profoundly influenced by Milton’s work, something he was quite aware of. This Anxiety of Influence, along with the political controversy surrounding Keats, led to the abandonment of Hyperion.