The History of Literature #306 – Keats’s Great Odes (with Anahid Nersessian)

306 Keats’s Great Odes (with Anahid Nersessian)

In 1819, John Keats quit his job as an assistant surgeon, abandoned an epic poem he was writing, and focused his poetic energies on shorter works. What followed was one of the most fertile periods in the history of poetry, as in a few months’ time Keats completed six masterpieces, including such celebrated classics as “To Autumn,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Now, two hundred years later, an American scholar has written an exciting new book called Keats’s Odes: A Lover’s Discourse, in which she gathers and revisits the Great Odes, viewing them through a personal prism.

Anahid Nersessian was born and grew up in New York City. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and has taught at Columbia University and UCLA. Her first book, Utopia, Limited: Romanticism and Adjustment was published by Harvard University Press in 2015, and her second book, The Calamity Form: On Poetry and Social Life, by the University of Chicago in 2020. She lives in Los Angeles, CA.

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