Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Worm WorkRecasting Romanticism$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Janelle A. Schwartz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816673209

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816673209.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 20 October 2019

“Wherefore All This Wormy Circumstance?”

“Wherefore All This Wormy Circumstance?”

(p.189) Conclusion “Wherefore All This Wormy Circumstance?”
Worm Work

Janelle A. Schwartz

University of Minnesota Press

This concluding chapter offers a provocatively brief examination of John Keats’s Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil (1818/1820) and Charles Darwin’s The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms, with Observations on Their Habits (1881). Keats’s poem does not present actual worms. As a purely figurative device with which to identify the conditions of decay and dissolution that structure the poem, the poem’s pivotal question marks not a protest against its grotesquery but an endorsement of worm work as the defining trait of a new kind of romance built on and out of the ruins of the old. Isabella posits its new aesthetic sensibility by assuming only a wormy effect. Worms therefore inject revolutionary movement into Romantic texts without suffering from categorical limitations.

Keywords:   John Keats, Charles Darwin, worms, poem, aesthetic sensibility, romance

Minnesota Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.