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John Keats' Medical NotebookText, Context, and Poems$
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Hrileena Ghosh

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620610

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620610.001.0001

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Endymion and the Physiology of Passion

Endymion and the Physiology of Passion

(p.203) Chapter Five Endymion and the Physiology of Passion
John Keats' Medical Notebook

Hrileena Ghosh

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Endymion, the only long poem Keats ever completed, which was written immediately after he left Guy’s Hospital when his medical experience was fresh in his mind. Reading Endymion through the contents of Keats’ medical Notebook allows a fresh perspective on the physiology that underlies and informs the poem’s depictions of passion. Close reading of the poem, and of the biographical circumstances in which it was composed, reveal the extent to which Keats’ medical experience affected his poetic creativity, and the way contemporary criticismrecognised and responded to this aspect of the poem. The chapter concludes with an exploration of Keats’ knowledge of Romantic medical ethics, and how this informed his delineation of the figures of healers. Endymion showcases Keats’ ability to convey extreme emotion through anatomical descriptions and medical vocabulary.

Keywords:   Endymion, physiology, passion, close reading, emotion, medical ethics, criticism, creativity

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