John Keats


Keats is a romantic poet of the second generation. He had humble origin and he passed his life in poor condition , however his passion for reading and poetry let him pass all his life writing poems. the 1818 was an year of turn for keats because he realized that his life was short and he change his point of view, in this year he also wrote “Endymion”. In 1820 his status of health got worse, and in 1821 he died in Rome. After his death the real value of keats wasn’t recognized, we have to wait until the Victorian age to see his capacity recognized.

The substance of his poetry:

Keats is different from the other romantic poets, he spent a small part of his energy to write poems that deals with his personal experience or with his feelings, in fact in the odes there is a deeply felt personal experience ,but this is only the background and not the main theme. The pronoun “I” is refered to a universal being and not to a human being. Another thing is that in Keats is rarely present the identify of subjective moods in landscape or scenery.

The role of imagination:                                    

It was the belief in the supreme value of imagination that made K. a Romantic poet. The imagination in K. takes two main forms:

  1. In the first the world of his poetry is fantastic, is one that he images and is not the reflex of his experience.
  2. In the second the world he creates is a vision of what he would like human life to be like, stimulated by his own experience of pain and misery.

Beauty: the central theme of his poetry:

The first line of Endymion: “ A thing of beauty is a joy forever”

The contemplation of beauty is the main theme of K. poem. He was inspired by the classical Greek world. The expression of beauty Is the ideal of all art. The Greek’s world in K. lives again but re-interpreted with the eyes of a Romantic. There are two conception of beauty:

  1. Physical beauty: this apprehension of beauty involves all the senses, this beauty is caught in all the forms nature acquires. This beauty is mutable and is linked to the process of life.
  2. Spiritual beauty: when beauty produces a deeply experience of joy, and is the beauty of love, friendship and poetry; and is immortal.

Negative capability:

This is linked to a new point of view of the role of the poet. The negative capability is the capability of the poet that he has to deny his personality in order to identify himself with the object which is the source of his inspiration and the place where truth resides.

Poetà rely to his negative capabilityà is able to seek sensationà sensations lead to beauty and truth (basis of knowledge)à allows him to render him trough poetry.

La Belle Dame sans Merci:

  • Is a romantic ballad where the meeting between a knight and a beautiful lady becomes a metaphor of illness and consummation.
  • There are typical medieval elements, like the armature of the knight.
  • All the natural elements and the description of the knight transmit an atmosphere of death.
  • There is a relationship between love and death.
  • The mysterious lady is the representation of a primordial nature, an she creates an atmosphere of mysterious and drama.
  • Love as absolute value.
  • Ladyà 3 interpratation: funny brown, the death, poetry ( most credibleà died because of poetry)
  • The knight is hypnotized by the lady.

Ode on a Grecian Urn:

  • Is an ode that is dedicate to a beauty “without time” of an urn; described as a perfect manifestation of art that doesn’t need justification, Keats talk to this urn, and he realize that the art is the only thing that remains to him but is not live.
  • We can find art and beauty in things that are mysterious, secret like the images painted on the urn and the action represented by these images, that allows people to imagine a fantastic world , better than the real world.
  • These images will last forever.