Keats’s Negative Capability

The end of December 2017 marks the 200-year anniversary of the letter in which Keats coined one of his most famous phrases: negative capability. To commemorate this significant event, the KLP will publish several posts responding to the letter as well as a few other features. These include: opening commentary from some of the KLP editors; a StoryMap outlining Keats’s movements and activities in the days before and around the writing of the letter; a post from Suzanne Barnett identifying some of the strange places in popular culture where negative capability has surfaced; a three-part series of poets reflecting on poems they identify as particularly negatively capable (part 1; part 2; part 3); video of an event hosted by two of KLP co-founders (Brian Rejack and Michael Theune) at the Normal Public Library in Normal, IL on December 16, 2017; and a final response from Brian Bates exploring the significance of the Christmas pantomime, which was the performance Keats was walking back from with Charles Brown and Charles Dilke when the idea of negative capability ‘at once’ struck him.

This page functions as the portal for all of our negative capability related content. We’ll be updating the page with additional resources, including material related to the essay collection, co-edited by Brian Rejack and Michael Theune, Keats’s Negative Capability: New Origins and Afterlives, which will (we hope!) be in print sometime in 2018.

As long as you can resist the allure of “irritable reaching after fact & reason,” come explore negative capability!