John Keats: Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil

(2933 words)

“Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil” is typically positioned as a transitional poem, dividing John Keats’s early work (the volume of 1817 and Endymion) from his more mature pieces (such as “Lamia”, “The Eve of St. Agnes”, and the famous odes of the 1820 volume). Scholarship since the late 1960s has sought to recuperate “Isabella”, identifying it as more than just a boundary marker by highlighting its reinvention of the medieval romance genre and its demonstration of Keats’s connection to the real world (by its anti-industrialist commentary). The criticism, however, remains haunted by Keats’s own assessment of the poem as “smokeable” and “weak-sided”. Aside from the fluctuating value that scholarship has p…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Vernooy, Dawn. "Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 March 2012
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]