Shakespeare the Presider
This brief paper aims at indicating the essential points of contact between Shakespeare and Keats in order to try to understand what kind of relationship the romantic poet established with the Elizabethan playwright. In 1987 Robert White wrote the book Keats as a Reader of Shakespeare, which remains, in my view, the most exhaustive study on the topic, and this definition seems to me the most appropriate way to define this connection since Keats appears to be primarily a ‘reader’, a reader who is powerfully affected and inspired by his contact with Shakespeare’s works, rather than a scholar who interprets. This does not mean that Keats does not offer what we could define as critical comments in his letters, in reviews or even in some of the annotations on his own copy of Shakespeare’s plays, but he is not a Hazlitt or even a Coleridge; we could speak of reactions rather than analyses. In this light the paper attempts to examine the Shakespearean ‘traces’ present in Keats’ works.
Keywords: Shakespeare, Keats, Hazlitt, Influence, Harold Bloom