Keats, Montaigne, and Hamlet
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AbstractThis paper examines Keats’s sceptical ideas, many of which started to take shape in 1817, by exploring their connections with Renaissance scepticism as represented by Montaigne. It suggests Keats’s affinity with Montaigne in the aspects of non-dogmatism, the flux of the self, and the intellectual habit of examining the equipollence of contrary arguments, especially their common preoccupation with mortality and the paradoxical celebration of life. The paper considers their affinity from Montaigne’s influence on Keats’s contemporaries such as Hazlitt and more importantly, from the correspondence of some of Montaigne’s sceptical ideas with those in Shakespeare as manifested in Hamlet, Shakespeare’s most explicitly sceptical play. By examining Keats’s references and reflections on the play, the paper observes that Keats seemed particularly drawn to Hamlet’s scepticism as most clearly exemplified in his famous ‘to be or not to be’ soliloquy’ and the paradoxical obsession with death and a tranquil acceptance of mortality as conveyed towards the end of play. From Keats’s reading of the play, the paper attempts to bring together Keats, Hamlet, and Montaigne on the meeting point of scepticism.
All Author(s) ListLI Ou
Name of ConferenceThe fourth bicentennial John Keats conference 2017
Start Date of Conference19/05/2017
End Date of Conference21/05/2017
Place of ConferenceLondon
Country/Region of ConferenceGreat Britain
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom

Last updated on 2018-27-04 at 11:02