Spying on Lazarus in the Cave: Keats and the Still Body in The Fall of Hyperion [abstract]
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If accepted for the conference, my presentation will be a critical exploration of John Keats' craft in The Fall of Hyperion, particularly his description of bodies. I contend that in his choice to describe still bodies, or bodies at rest, Keats resists the temporal pressures of narrative and language, achieves a powerful effect of suspense, and reinvigorates the potential for visual description in poetry. My argument will engage with Gotthold Lessing's The Laocooen, and will attempt to challenge Lessing's proscriptions that writers avoid descriptions of bodies at rest in favor of bodies in action. Instead, I will demonstrate how Keats follows Lessing's proscriptions for visual artists (depicting bodies mid-gesture, so as to suggest but not depict climactic action).
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