John Keats’s Geographical Writing and Construction of British National Identity

ZHANG Junyao, CUI Dan


British romantic poets generally illustrate distinctive geographical writing characteristics. Among them, John Keats is a representative in composing geographical space from a multi-dimensional perspective, either real or imaginary, thus illustrating the natural aesthetic characteristics of his poetry and the poet’s own humanistic thoughts and political concerns. In his poems, Keats not only wrote about the landscape of English natural geographical appearance, including forests, grasslands, etc., which highlighted his love for Britain and pride in folk customs, but also focused on the human landscape represented by castles and churches, which highlighted the central position of England within Great Britain and the anticipation of integrating Scotland under English control. Keats is not confined to a particular moment or a scene, but detached from reality and creating fantasy to incorporate elements of magical mythology in order to fictionalize the natural geographic environment including nature, river, mountains and human geography like castles, thus highlighting his Hellenized Britain and publicizing the civilized image of the Great Britain. On the other hand, he also highlighted the rationality and order of Britain through the mapping of the East, and provided a rational explanation for its Eastern colonization.

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