Bruce E. Miller (essay date 1965)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Miller, Bruce E. “On the Incompleteness of Keats's Hyperion.College Language Association Journal 8, no. 3 (March 1965): 234-39.

[In the following essay, Miller asserts that Keats left Hyperion incomplete because he could not resolve the philosophical dilemma created through his profession that the world will inherently improve over time and his uncertainty regarding universal fate and individual will.]

Scholars have asked why Keats did not finish a poem which begins as prosperously as Hyperion. As for explanations, Thorpe has indicated the possibility that Keats' love affair may have interfered with work on a heroic poem;1...

(The entire section is 2146 words.)

Irene H. Chayers (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Chayers, Irene H. “Dreamer, Poet, and Poem in The Fall of Hyperion.Philological Quarterly 46, no. 4 (October 1967): 499-515.

[In the following essay, Chayers considers Keats's thematic and stylistic use of the composition of poetry in The Fall of Hyperion. Chayers focuses on the dialogue between the first-person narrator and the priestess Moneta, as well as the passage which reflects on the poet versus dreamer, as a representative example.]

                                                            How much toil!
How many days! what desperate turmoil! …
Ah, what a task!

—“Sleep and Poetry”


(The entire section is 7588 words.)

Paul D. Sheats (essay date 1968)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sheats, Paul D. “Stylistic Discipline in The Fall of Hyperion.Keats-Shelley Journal 17 (1968): 75-88.

[In the following essay, Sheats asserts that the style of The Fall of Hyperion utilizes a restrained use of imagery combined with intensity of sensation, which demonstrates Keats's growth and artistic discipline.]

The summer of 1819 abundantly fulfilled Keats's prediction, in June, that his “discipline was to come, and plenty of it.”1 In virtual retirement from the world at Shanklin and Winchester, he apprenticed himself to the new styles and forms of Otho and Lamia in a deliberate attempt to become a “popular...

(The entire section is 6323 words.)

Stuart M. Sperry (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Sperry, Stuart M. “Tragic Irony in The Fall of Hyperion.” In English Romantic Poets: Modern Essays in Criticism, edited by M. H. Abrams, pp. 470-85. London: Oxford University Press, 1975.

[In the following essay, Sperry asserts The Fall of Hyperion is an expression of tragic irony. The critic also considers Adam and his dream as an allegory for poets and poetry.]

As prelude to the dreamer's coming vision, the brief paragraph of eighteen lines with which the induction to The Fall begins clearly establishes Keats's major theme—the dream itself, taken, as from the first he always had, as the fundamental source of poetry:


(The entire section is 6081 words.)

Paul Sherwin (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sherwin, Paul. “Dying into Life: Keats's Struggle with Milton in Hyperion.PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 93, no. 3 (May 1978): 383-95.

[In the following essay, Sherwin considers Keats's poetic reactions to Milton. He concentrates on Hyperion, noting both Milton's influence on its style, formal design, and mythological structure and Keats's attempt to create a poem of progress that subverts Milton's moral view.]

One of the most famous Romantic characterizations of Milton is Wordsworth's in the sonnet “London, 1802”:

Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound...

(The entire section is 9352 words.)

Anya Taylor (essay date 1979)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Taylor, Anya. “Superhuman Silence: Language in Hyperion.SEL: Studies in English Literature 19, no. 4 (autumn 1979): 673-87.

[In the following essay, Taylor looks at depictions of divine speech in Hyperion. The critic also focuses on the use of silence and figurative language in Keats's reworking of mythology within the Romantic period.]

Ever since Keats set down his Hyperion to take up the burden of his brother's death, readers have joined him in finding the epic too abstract, in finding it a detour in Keats's artistic development, or in finding it too discontinuous in style, with the antique, chiselled frigidity of books one and two...

(The entire section is 6060 words.)

Warren U. Ober and W. K. Thomas (essay date 1980)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ober, Warren U. and W. K. Thomas. “Keats and the Solitary Pan.” Keats-Shelley Journal 29 (1980): 96-119.

[In the following essay, Ober and Thomas examine the implications of Keats's use of Pan in The Fall of Hyperion. They asserting that the character operates figuratively as the Romantic Imagination.]

One of the most fascinating cruxes in Keats's poetry occurs in lines 410-411 of Canto i of The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream, as the utterly defeated Saturn in his dejection sends “Strange musings to the solitary Pan.”1 These lines near the close of the first canto appear in a passage in which the narrator, Keats's persona, having...

(The entire section is 9113 words.)

Alan J. Bewell (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bewell, Alan J. “The Political Implication of Keats's Classicist Aesthetics.” Studies in Romanticism 25, no. 2 (summer 1986): 220-29.

[In the following essay, Bewell suggests that Hyperion reflects Keats's uncertainty of his own political voice, and should instead be read as a poem concerned with the aesthetics of sculptural form.]

“If I weren't a conqueror, I would wish to be a sculptor”


Few would disagree that Keats's Hyperion, with its depiction of the overthrow of Saturn by the Olympian gods, of one form of power and sovereignty being displaced by...

(The entire section is 4225 words.)

Carol L. Bernstein (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bernstein, Carol L. “Subjectivity as Critique and the Critique of Subjectivity in Keats's Hyperion.” In After the Future: Postmodern Times and Places, edited by Gary Shapiro, pp. 41-52. Albany, N. Y.: State University of New York Press, 1990.

[In the following essay, Bernstein considers the impact of subjectivity in Hyperion, drawing from theoretical debates about modernism and postmodernism.]

One of the problems of postmodernist literary criticism has been that of aligning it with other cultural objects of modernity and of postmodernity itself. Like Twemlow in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend, who faces the bottomless abyss of deciding...

(The entire section is 4717 words.)

Marlon B. Ross (essay date 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ross, Marlon B. “Beyond the Fragmented Word: Keats at the Limits of Patrilineal Language.” In Out of Bounds: Male Writers and Gender(ed) Criticism, edited by Laura Claridge and Elizabeth Langland, pp. 110-31. Amherst, Mass.: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990.

[In the following essay, Ross examines the presence of patriarchal language in Endymion and Hyperion. Ross asserts Keats recognized his continued imitation of patrilineal discourse in Hyperion and, in an attempt to subvert this tendency, shifted to an obtuse private language.]

In her study The Romantic Fragment Poem (1986) Marjorie Levinson asserts the intentionality...

(The entire section is 9643 words.)

Jonathan Bate (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bate, Jonathan. “Keats's Two Hyperions and the Problem of Milton.” In Romantic Revisions, edited by Robert Brinkley and Keith Hanley, pp. 321-38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

[In the following essay, Bate discusses the influence of Milton's Paradise Lost on Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. Bate focuses on Keats's repeated attempts to compose a more politically progressive, less Miltonic Hyperion.]

One of the most powerful chapters in Walter Jackson Bate's magisterial biography of John Keats is the thirteenth, ‘The Burden of the Mystery: The Emergence of a Modern Poet’.1 It is there that we are...

(The entire section is 8428 words.)

Carl Plasa (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Plasa, Carl. “Revision and Repression in Keats's Hyperion: ‘Pure Creations of the Poets Brain.’” Keats-Shelley Journal 44 (1995): 117-46.

[In the following essay, Plasa discusses the relationship between Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, and Milton's Paradise Lost. Plasa considers Keats's work as a re-envisioning of poetics that attempts to repress the Miltonic past.]

a poet's stance, his Word, his imaginative identity, his whole being, must be unique to him, and remain unique, or he will perish, as a poet.

Harold Bloom

language, for the...

(The entire section is 10201 words.)

Joel Faflak (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Faflak, Joel. “Romantic Psychoanalysis: Keats, Identity, and (The Fall of) Hyperion.” In Lessons of Romanticism: A Critical Companion, edited by Thomas Pfau and Robert F. Gleckner, pp. 304-27. Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Faflak asserts that the Hyperion poems indicate how Romanticism invents, as opposed to prefigures, psychoanalysis. Faflak concentrates on the poems' construction of abject identity through an analysis that develops from Lacanian and Kristevan theoretical positions.]

Whereas in Paradise Lost, God is introduced by Milton to sanction his authority as a writer of epic verse, Book 3...

(The entire section is 10700 words.)

Christoph Bode (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bode, Christoph. “Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, and Keats's Poetics.” Wordsworth Circle, 31, no. 1 (winter 2000): 31-37.

[In the following essay, Bode analyzes Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion as part of a consistent, rather than a continuous, expression of Keats's poetics. Bode sees the poems as marking the development of Keats's thoughts on “negative capability.”]

According to many critics, John Keats gave up Hyperion and later recast it as The Fall of Hyperion, first, because he had experienced some fundamental change in his outlook on life, on the course of human history and the place of suffering in the world;...

(The entire section is 6093 words.)

Ellen Brinks (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Brinks, Ellen. “The Male Romantic Poet as Gothic Subject: Keats's Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 54, no. 4 (March 2000): 427-54.

[In the following essay, Brinks considers the construction of masculinity and homoeroticism as part of a Gothic subtext in Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion.]

With Hyperion: A Fragment and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream, John Keats's efforts to write an epic in 1818 and 1819 failed. Yet the irony of this “failure” has not gone unnoticed: not only is it the grounds for the placement of these works at an interpretive center of the Keatsian canon, but poetic...

(The entire section is 10755 words.)

Brian Goldberg (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Goldberg, Brian. “Black Gates and Fiery Galleries: Eastern Architecture in The Fall of Hyperion.Studies in Romanticism 39, no. 2 (2000): 229-54.

[In the following essay, Goldberg examines Keats's use of Indian imagery in both Endymion and The Fall of Hyperion. Goldberg also looks at the prevalence of Indian exoticism in writings of the Romantic period.]

According to recent discussions, Keats's Hyperion fragments draw on a historiography of style that opens with the ancient sublimities of Egypt and moves on to the lucent beauties of Greece and Rome. This argument is based largely on descriptions of the Titans which allude to...

(The entire section is 11512 words.)