Keats's Odes

Nersessian Anahid
"Anahid Nersessian gathers Keats's six Great Odes and comments on them in essays at once bold, speculative, and personal. There are many lovers in this "lover's discourse," but the main ones are Keats and Nersessian herself. Each ode emerges here as an expression and an inducement of love--sometimes for humanity in general, sometimes for a specific person. This is literary criticism as passion work, close reading as intimacy, with memoir occasionally breaking to the surface with hints of heartbreak and an absent lover. For many younger readers today, it is difficult to love canonical literature when, like Nersessian herself, one belongs to ethnic and sexual categories that were historically excluded from its purview. Yet every year, students and other readers fall hard for Keats, despite lives so distant from the world of the English Regency. There is what one critic long ago called a "lovableness" to this poet who died of tuberculosis on 23 February 1821, at age 25, exiled in rooms beside the Spanish Steps in Rome. Nersessian shows why we love him still, and why his odes continue to speak powerfully to our own desires"--
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"When I say this book is a love story, I mean it is about things that cannot be gotten over--like this world, and some of the people in it."

In 1819, the poet John Keats wrote six poems that would become known as the Great Odes. Some of them--"Ode to a Nightingale," "To Autumn"--are among the most celebrated poems in the English language. Anahid Nersessian here collects and elucidates each of the odes and offers a meditative, personal essay in response to each, revealing why these poems still have so much to say to us, especially in a time of ongoing political crisis. Her Keats is an unflinching antagonist of modern life--of capitalism, of the British Empire, of the destruction of the planet--as well as a passionate idealist for whom every poem is a love poem.

The book emerges from Nersessian's lifelong attachment to Keats's poetry; but more, it "is a love story: between me and Keats, and not just Keats." Drawing on experiences from her own life, Nersessian celebrates Keats even as she grieves him and counts her own losses--and Nersessian, like Keats, has a passionate awareness of the reality of human suffering, but also a willingness to explore the possibility that the world, at least, could still be saved. Intimate and speculative, this brilliant mix of the poetic and the personal will find its home among the numerous fans of Keats's enduring work.

More Information
Publisher University of Chicago Press
ISBN-10 022676267X
ISBN-13 9780226762678
GTIN-13 9780226762678
GTIN-14 09780226762678
Subtitle A Lover's Discourse
Author Nersessian Anahid
Edition 1
Language Code eng
Page Count 160
Publication Date Feb 9, 2021
Dimension 5.6 in 8.6 in 0.8 in