The Time of Beauty
Author(s)Jackson, Noel B.
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For Levinson, the Keats who thus suffers is our angel of history as described by Benjamin - face turned to the past, blown irresistibly into the future - and, in the later work especially, he reappears as the avenging angel who turns the instruments of domination against the culture that wields them.5 A postulate common in the boom years of the new historicism, best captured by Fredric Jameson's famous remark that "History is what hurts," maintained that the force of "history" is chiefly made manifest in forms of affective "hurt," trauma, and so forth.6 Where this is the case, the beautiful may signify no more than as the possibility of momentary consolation or the utopianism of a perpetually deferred redemption of time. Whether this work takes its cue from Newell Ford's description of Keatsian beauty as "prefigurati ve truth," Paul de Man's characterization of Keats's imagination as largely "prospective" in its orientation, or Patricia Parker's account of the "perpetual 'à venir in Keats," it is the forward-looking poet whose voice has most often been claimed for politics.7 Hazlitt's Essay on the Principles of Human Action furnishes a guidebook for the ethical dimensions of this self-divesting orientation towards futurity; the negatively capable chameleon poet is hailed as its literary embodiment.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities. Literature Section
Studies in Romanticism
Trustees of Boston University
Jackson, N.. "The Time of Beauty." Studies in Romanticism 50.2 (2011): 311-335. Humanities Module, ProQuest. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. © 2011 Trustees of Boston University
Author's final manuscript