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Title: The life of sensations : phenomenality and affectivity in the poetry of John Keats
Author: Bari, S. K.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis presents a series of readings of poems by John Keats (1795-1821), and traces through his work the idea of a self-sensing subject, engaged in a complex relationship both with orders and with its environment. Keats’s imagined subject is singular but contingent, and contests the unshareable condition of being with the affective claims of love and grief. This proposition is explored through Keats’s poetry and with recourse to a range of philosophical and theoretical thinkers, most particularly Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Gilles Deleuze, Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy. Attending to some familiar and other less known works by Keats, the thesis develops chapters exploring the nature of touch, the evocation of presence, the poetics of ecology, the pursuit of freedom and the weight of grief. The thesis interlaces poetic and philosophical material in order to trace a trajectory from a Kantian subject around whom the world forms, to a Heideggerian world in which being takes place constitutively with others. The thesis culminates in a reading of Keats’s Hyperion poems, and draws from them a conception of post-apocalyptic care in which the world and the subjects that dwell upon it are endangered by and entrusted to each other. The thesis has three objectives. First, it presents new readings of Keats’s work. Second, it explores the possibility of a method of critical reading in the present where old poems are allowed to resonate in a contemporary moment. Lastly, the thesis draws from the method of close reading a sense of the particular phenomenality of Keats’s verse (his evocation of touching hands, wandering feet, beating hearts, breathing bodies, and an elemental world of air, water and stone) and proposes that the irreducibly singular ‘life of sensations’ is also thoughtful and committed to the affective claims made by and between human beings.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available