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The Paul De Man Notebooks$
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Paul de Man and Martin McQuillan

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748641048

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748641048.001.0001

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Graduate Essay on Keats (1954)

Graduate Essay on Keats (1954)

(p.42) 3 Graduate Essay on Keats (1954)
The Paul De Man Notebooks

Martin McQuillan

Edinburgh University Press

In this 1954 essay, Paul de Man talks about the English poet John Keats. According to de Man, ‘It is hard to make up one's mind about John Keats’, wondering whether he is or not a ‘difficult’ poet; whether one should approach him in the ‘broad and tolerant frame of mind with which one listens to a certain kind of romantic music: ignoring some local imperfections or vagueness for the sake of the overall mood’; or whether we should read him ‘slowly, with constant repetitions, or get carried away by the general movement’. De Man describes Keats as a poet of bewilderment and metamorphosis, one of the first, perhaps, of the modern polyvalent poets allowing for many interpretations. He cites Earl R. Wasserman's study of Ode on a Grecian Urn as an example of Keats's choosing poetry in order to achieve ‘fellowship with essence’. The Ode on a Grecian Urn is concerned more specifically with art, as one of those means... no doubt, the most vital to Keats.

Keywords:   poetry, Paul de Man, John Keats, poets, Earl R. Wasserman, Ode on a Grecian Urn

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