Secularism and Consolation in Three Odes
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Chapter 6 links the odes to the Hyperion project by showing that the odes too were concerned with the consolatory rationale of modern poetry. All of these lyric meditations unfold as exercises in secular consolation. Despite recent claims to the contrary, “Ode to Psyche” does not conceive the goddess as a figure of the immortal soul. From its dramatic opening, “Ode to a Nightingale” reveals ideal havens to be metaleptic projections born of human pain. The voice that narrates “To Autumn” assimilates natural fact to imaginative pattern, dramatizing the mind’s freedom and power to remake temporality as beauty. In all of these texts, Keats insists on the consolatory agency of the poetic imagination.