307 Keats’s Ode to Psyche

In 1819, John Keats wrote a letter to his brother George and his sister-in-law Giorgiana, who had recently moved from London to America. In the letter, Keats included a poem, which he introduced as “the first and the only one with which I have taken even moderate pains…I hope it will encourage me to write other things in even a more peaceable and healthy spirit.” The poem was called “Ode to Psyche,” and it has taken its place among five other poems Keats wrote in 1819 and that are now called The Great Odes. In this episode, we follow our conversation with Anahid Nersessian by examining her favorite of the Great Odes, as we explore the myth of Cupid and Psyche and the way Keats’s imagination unlocked the power of an underserved goddess.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.comjackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

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The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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306 Keats’s Great Odes (with Anahid Nersessian)

In 1819, John Keats quit his job as an assistant surgeon, abandoned an epic poem he was writing, and focused his poetic energies on shorter works. What followed was one of the most fertile periods in the history of poetry, as in a few months’ time Keats completed six masterpieces, including such celebrated classics as “To Autumn,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Now, two hundred years later, an American scholar has written an exciting new book called Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse, in which she gathers and revisits the Great Odes, viewing them through a personal prism.

Anahid Nersessian was born and grew up in New York City. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has taught at Columbia University and UCLA. Her first book, Utopia, Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment was published by Harvard University Press in 2015, and her second book, The Calamity Form: On Poetry and Social Life, by the University of Chicago in 2020. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.comjackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

New!!! Looking for an easy to way to buy Jacke a coffee? Now you can at paypal.me/jackewilson. Your generosity is much appreciated!

The History of Literature Podcast is a member of Lit Hub Radio and the Podglomerate Network. Learn more at www.thepodglomerate.com/historyofliterature.

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203 William Blake

Jacke takes a look at the astonishing life and works of William Blake (1757-1827), a poet, painter, engraver, illustrator, visionary, and one of the key figures of the Romantic Period. How did the boy who saw God’s head in a window at age four become the man who wrote the most anthologized poem in English (“The Tyger”) AND perhaps the most brilliant and innovative visual artist that England has ever produced? We discuss all that and more!

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

Music Credits:

“Magistar” and “Wholesome” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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145 Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know – The Story of Lord Byron

The Later Romantic poet George Gordon Byron, once described by Lady Caroline Lamb as “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” lived 36 years and became world famous, his astonishing career as a poet matched only by his astonishing record as a breaker of norms, an insatiable lover, a bizarre hedonist, a restless exile, a head-scratching eccentric, a passionate friend, a determined athlete, an ardent revolutionary, and in general, one of the greatest embracers of life the world has ever seen.

Works discussed include Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Fugitive Pieces / Hours of Idleness, English Bards and Scotch Reviewers, and Don Juan.

For another taste of Romantic poetry, try our episode on Poetry and Ruins, which includes a look at Shelley’s Ozymandias.

Jacke recounts his own attempts to write a Keatsian poem in the Bad Poetry episode.

Byron makes a cameo appearance – he was on the scene when both Frankenstein and vampires were invented – in our Mary Shelley episode.

Want some of the older Romantics? Try our episode on Coleridge and the Person from Porlock.

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If you’d like to purchase a mug instead, or just donate a fiver or two to the show, you can find out how at historyofliterature.com/shop. Learn more about the show at historyofliterature.com or facebook.com/historyofliterature. Contact the host at jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com or on Twitter @thejackewilson.

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