The Romantic Poet in the Imaginary Future - John Keats in the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons
Abstract: The four novels Hyperion, The Fall ofHyperion, Endymionand The Rise of Endymionconstitute the Hyperion Cantosby the American science fiction writer Dan Simmons. Thisgalactic-empire,epic,science fictionnarrative containsa plethora ofliterary references. The dominant part comes from the nineteenth-century Romantic poet John Keats. The inclusion of passages from his poetry and letters is pursuedin my analysis.EmployingLubomír Doležel’scategorizations of intertextuality—“transposition,” “expansion,” and “displacement”—I seek to show how Keats’s writings and his persona constitute a privilegedintertext inSimmons’s tetralogyand I show its function.Simmons constructs subsidiary plots, some of which are drivenby Keats’s most well-known poetry. In consequence, some of the subplotscan be regarded as rewrites of Keats’s works.Although quotations of poetry have a tendency to direct the reader’s attention away from the main plot,slowing down the narrative,such passages in the narrativesevokeKeats’s philosophy of empathy, beauty andlove,which is fundamental for his humanism.ForKeats, the poet is a humanist, giving solace to mankind through his poetry. I argue that the complex intertextual relationships with regards toKeats’s poetryand biographyshow the way Simmons expresses humanism as a belief in man’s dignity and worth, and uses it as the basis for his epic narrative.
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