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Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine published a famous demolition of John Keats’s poetry in August 1818. The same issue also announced its hostility to John Ferriar’s Essay towards a Theory of Apparitions (1813). Ferriar’s essay treated visionary experience as a form of hallucination, ‘a waking dream’ whose causes were not essentially different from other physical diseases. This lecture explores the intersecting trajectories of Keats and Ferriar – who died in 1815 just as the poet started his medical training at Guy’s – to suggest both responded to the emergent science of mind in the period not as a demystification but rather a re-enchantment of imaginative life.
Followed by a drinks reception. All welcome - this is a free ticketed event.
Speaker's Bio: Professor John Mee (University of York)
Jon Mee is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York, where he moved in 2013 after several years at the University of Warwick and a decade as Margaret Candfield Fellow in English at University College, Oxford. He has written several books on the literary and cultural history of the romantic period including Dangerous Enthusiasm: William Blake and the Culture of Radicalism in the 1790s (Oxford University Press, 1992), Conversable Worlds: Literature, Contention and Community, 1762-1830 (Oxford University Press, 2011), and most recently Networks of Improvement, Literature Bodies and Machines in the Industrial Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2023), which treats the vibrant intellectual networks that coincided with the first Industrial Revolution as a ‘transpennine enlightenment'.