Chapter 1 discusses Keats’s poetics as an instance of Romantic historicism. From the time of Poems (1817), Keats’s poetry typically places past and present in dialogic relationship, appealing to the past so as to orient itself imaginatively and politically in the present. The Cockney culture wars supplied the context in which Keats constructed this strategic orientation as a poet. Hunt and the writers affiliated with him were embroiled in a complex, contentious program to reclaim the literary canon for their own revisionist writings—and the rich allusiveness of Keats’s poetry signifies his participation in this project. Cockney cultural politics lent contemporary purchase to Keats’s native bookishness, interest in history, and retrospective poetic orientation, and helped determine the shape of his brief poetic career.