Egotistical Sublime

Literary/ Cultural Context Note

Litencyc Editors (Independent Scholar - Europe)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error


The phrase is first used by Keats in a letter to Richard Woodhouse, dated 27 Oct. 1818: “As to the poetical Character itself (I mean that sort of which, if I am any thing, I am a Member; that sort distinguished from the Wordsworthian or egotistical sublime; which is a thing per se and stands alone) it is not itself — it has no self — it is every thing and nothing —It has no character— it enjoys light and shade; it lives in gusto, be it foul or fair, high or low, rich or poor, mean or elevated — It has as much delight in conceiving an Iago as an Imogen.” Keats defines his own poetic identity as a “chameleon poet” in direct contrast to Wordsworth whom he characterises as monumental and fixed, opposed to the labile. See also Keat’s letter of May 3rd 1818 to John…

166 words

Citation: Editors, Litencyc. "Egotistical Sublime". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 May 2006 [, accessed 05 March 2024.]

315 Egotistical Sublime 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.