Keats's Places pp 135-156 | Cite as

Keats’s Muses ‘In the Midst of Meg Merrilies’ Country’: Meg, Mnemosyne, Moneta and Autumn

  • Heidi ThomsonEmail author


Heidi Thomson’s chapter explores Keats’s perceptions of, and associations with, older or mature women—ranging from his beloved grandmother Alice Jennings to his lover Isabella Jones, seventeen years his senior, to the mothers of his friends—to argue that versions of these women resurface in characterizations of female characters in his poetry. Thomson looks especially at the figure of Meg Merrilies, whom Keats encountered in various guises during his 1818 Scottish walking tour. It is easy to think of Keats’s tour journal verse ‘Old Meg’ merely as a jeu d’esprit, or slapdash doggerel, but Thomson’s reading of this poem reveals a far more significant figure of Amazonian strength and resilience—a prophetic, mediating force who prefigures Moneta and Mnemosyne.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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