Levinson's is an original and iconoclastic view of Keats. She concentrates on the excesses of Keats poetry, the overwritten and cloying sentiment which the majority of modern critics have chosen to ignore or explain away. Levinson takes as her cue for this the uncompromising criticisms levelled against Keats by his contemporaries, Byron, Wordsworth and Hazlitt, all of whom deprecated his indulgence and immaturity. But it is precisely these qualities that make for his originality and whose characteristics the book explores by taking a Derridean approach to the social and personal ambiguities underwriting what even then was considered an onanistic style of composition. Keats's insecurities about social and literary status combine in Levinson's controversial fusion of bourgeois and masturbatory categories in her background to the poet, which makes this a particularly provocative and powerful book.
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