Keats, Shoots and Leaves

  • Fiona StaffordEmail author


Fiona Stafford explores the dynamic interchange of real and imagined terrain in Keats’s work, focusing on how the poet’s reading both transforms and is transformed by his experience of the physical world, notably Hampstead. Stafford shows that Keats’s botanical imagery grows from the real world—from first-hand observations of the distinctive flora and vegetation that flourishes on the sandy soils of Hampstead Heath. Keats’s ‘full imaginative take-off’, she argues, ‘depends on the stability of its launch-pad’. Stafford’s rich chapter also considers how fresh meanings grow from words, from puns, allusions and recurrent usage, as the distinction between internal and external worlds becomes blurred—with uncanny effects—in Keats’s poetry. Words, she shows, sprout double or multiple meanings that take root in his mind, on the page, on the Heath, in the garden.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Somerville CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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