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‘‘Patient Travail’: Keats and Samson Agonistes’

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Meiko O'Halloran


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Scholarship on Keats’s fascination with Milton has tended to focus on his response to Paradise Lost. This article sheds new light on Keats’s engagement with Milton by exploring the significance of his reading of Samson Agonistes with Charles Brown during their walking tour of North England and Scotland in the summer of 1818. I suggest that Milton’s rendering of human suffering in Samson Agonistes answered Keats’s previous doubts about Milton’s ability to ‘think into the human heart’, enabling him to revise his ideas about epic and further conceptualise the work of the poet as an act of healing. In Samson Agonistes Keats found a model of poetry that puts pain, patient suffering, and limited vision at its core. These ideas became central to Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the epic fragments which bookend Keats’s ‘living year’ between the autumns of 1818 and 1819.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Halloran M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Romanticism

Year: 2022

Volume: 28

Issue: 2

Pages: 128-140

Print publication date: 01/07/2022

Online publication date: 28/04/2022

Acceptance date: 15/09/2021

ISSN (print): 1354-991x

ISSN (electronic): 1750-0192

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press


DOI: 10.3366/rom.2022.0549


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