John Keats: Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil (2933 words)

Dawn Vernooy (Shippensburg University)
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“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…

Citation: Vernooy, Dawn. "Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 March 2012 [, accessed 24 June 2021.]

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