This original study offers clear but conceptually sophisticated readings of Keats' major poems that are informed by contemporary literary theory. Drawing on the recent growth in interest in the Romantic poets and their audiences, the book focuses on the relationship between narrative in Keats' poetry and its audience and readers, while also developing, more generally, a theory of reading for Romantic poetry.
"In a richly suggestive reading, Andrew Bennett's Keats, Narrative and Audience: The Posthumous Life of Writing, locates Keats's poetry in the tension between narrative and lyric, audience and poet, public and private. The strength of Bennett's book is his fresh articulation of familiar Keatsian instabilities, oppositions, and paradoxes as an effect of what Bennett terms Keats's 'solecism,'..." The Wordsworth Circle "...a lively, exciting, eminently rewarding study...The surpassing strengths of the work are Bennett's wit and energy, a flair for persuasive novelty, and an authentic Keatsian gusto for the poems, passages, and lines that he analyzes. The scholarly grounding is remarkable: some three hundred scholars, critics, and theorists are cited in the seventy pages of notes and bibliography at the end--early writers like Claude Lee Finney and Earl Wasserman without apology and recent writers like Tilottama Rajan and Marjorie Levinson with enthusiasm. Bennett manages to resurrect useful points even from scholars now totally forgotten. It is a most impressive performance." Jack Stillinger, Nineteenth-Century Literature "When he turns his attention to the poems, Bennett proves himself to be an excellent close reader...this is a very smart book, and my brief summary of it does not do justice to the subtlety of argument and fine critical intelligence evident on every page. It provides a more highly theorized and closely reasoned account of Keats's ambivalent attitudes toward his audience than any previous study. Bennett himself is a challenging and rewarding critic to read, and with this book he has made an important contribution to Keats studies." Leon Waldoff, Studies in Romanticism