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The Poetry of John Keats

3. The Senses

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About this Lecture


In this module, we turn to Keats’ interest in the senses in his poetry, looking in particular at ‘When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be’, ‘Hyperion’ and ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’.


In this course, Dr Ross Wilson (University of Cambridge) explores the poetry of John Keats. In the first two modules, we think of Keats in terms of first reader, then writer, thinking about his engagement with both the texts of others—and particularly the great writers of the Western canon such as Homer and Shakespeare—as well as his approach to his own writings. As we move through the course, we think about the broader themes in Keats’ poetry—his interest in the senses, in the idea of negativity and disanalogy, and his experimentation with and handling of poetic form. In the final module, we think of Keats in terms of his relationship with others—firstly in a personal sense, and then in a more political.

Across the course as a whole, we take into account several of Keats’ poems and letters, including:‘On First Looking into Chapman's Homer’, ‘Hyperion’, ‘Bright Star’, ‘On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again’, ‘Isabella; or The Pot of Basil’, ‘When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be’, ‘O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell’, and ‘In Drear Nighted December’.


Ross Wilson was born in Salford and brought up in north Manchester, where he attended Philips High School and Bury College. He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and University College London before completing his doctorate at Cambridge in 2004. He held a Research Fellowship at Emmanuel (2004-7) and a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship in the Faculty of English, Cambridge (2007-9) before being appointed to a lectureship in Literature in the School of Literature, Drama, and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2009. He returned to Cambridge in 2013 as Lecturer in Criticism in the Faculty of English and took up a fellowship at Trinity College. He is editor of Romantic Circles Reviews & Receptions and very occasionally tweets @RossWilso . In 2015-16 he is the Crausaz Wordsworth Fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Wilson, R. (2018, August 15). The Poetry of John Keats - The Senses [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Wilson, R. "The Poetry of John Keats – The Senses." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,