Gothic Masculinity: Effeminacy and the Supernatural in English and German Romanticism

By Ellen Brinks | Go to book overview

2
The Male Romantic Poet as Gothic Subject:
Keats's Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream

The drama of terror has the irresistible power of converting its audiences into
its victims.

Melmoth the Wanderer

Language is a body technique.

—Pierre Bourdieu

Power is only pain,
Stranded, through discipline

—Emily Dickinson

HEGEL'S PROTAGONIST, EMBARKED ON AN EPIC PROJECT OF BILDUNG in The Phenomenology, found himself repeatedly dispossessed of culture's sociosymbolic legacy. Hyperion: A Fragment and The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream, Keats's two failed attempts at an epic of poetic election, also dramatize their (poet-)protagonist's troubled engagement with developmental narratives and assertions of mastery.1 Developmental narratives that claim to be an election, like Hegel's and Keats's, call attention to their particular sociocultural purpose: the legitimation of an individual by a community (here, philosophers and poets, respectively). Within such real or imagined cultural communities, legitimation bestows a higher, often exclusive, status upon the one who is chosen and successfully initiated.2 In The Phenomenology, Hegel underscores the subject of Absolute Knowing's fantasy of reigning over the past through his mastery of prior incarnations or discourses of masculine authority, and in both Hyperion fragments, Keats also underscores the element of discursive status, since he draws on the elevated rhetorical modes of Dantean and Miltonic epic, Greek myth, and the tropes of universal history and allegory. As Marlon Ross has shown, this rite of passage is an epic of poetic election, one that would confer upon its male participant, the

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Gothic Masculinity: Effeminacy and the Supernatural in English and German Romanticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Bucknell Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture 2
  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Acknowledgments 7
  • Introduction 11
  • 1: Hegel Possessed 24
  • 2: The Male Romantic Poet as Gothic Subject 49
  • 3: Sharing Gothic Secrets 68
  • 4: “This Dream It Would Not Pass Away” 91
  • 5: The Gothic Romance of Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Fliess 113
  • Notes 144
  • Selected Bibliography 198
  • Index 213
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