When Keats is engaged with poetry, which is all the time, he’s always envisioning a grand scope and scale to his work, measuring it against everything and everybody he considers to be colossally great (often this is Shakespeare). His enthusiasm knows no bounds. Discussing Keats’ Odes, Beachy-Quick points out the hazards of such extreme engagement:
The Odes record enthusiasm’s complications. The etymology of the word is telling: to be possessed by a god. Keats seeks not simply inspiration, but enthusiasm—a state of fervered apprehension, where possession and perception are aspects of one another, not the work of the solitary witness, but of the poet asking to see through a god’s eyes even as he looks through his own.
A Brighter Word Than Bright: Keats At Work By Dan Beachy-Quick, reviewed by Patrick James Dunagan