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Context and a close look at Bright Star and The Eve of St. Agnes

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  1. 1. John Keats LO: To sophisticatedlyanalyse how Keats uses form, structure andlanguage to present his ideas on love.Keats is my favourite poet: what do youalready know about him?
  2. 2. Bright StarSort the poem into the correct order...What kind of love is being presented here?What tone is used to describe the poem?Why has Keats chosen to use the form? What does this form hold connotations of?How does the structure of the poem reflect his meaning?What kind of imagery is used and what does it suggest about the love he feels?
  3. 3. • Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art-- Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like natures patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earths human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-- No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillowd upon my fair loves ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
  4. 4. John Keats Life 1795 – 1821 (he dies at 26) His father died when he was 8, he was forced to be a teen apprentice to a doctor to support his family. His mother died when he was 14 of TB. His older brother would die from TB and Keats would nurse him. Keats would then die of TB when he was 26. He trained to be a doctor (less impressive than it sounds today!) but gave it up to follow his dream of being a poet. He had no money, so had to rely on friends and acquaintances to support him. He moved in with a friend in Wentworth Place whose next door neighbour was Fanny Brawne – a young woman. Keats fell desparately in love with her but didn’t have enough money to marry her and soon became ill. He wrote most of his poems in 1819 – his annus mirabilis – at Wentworth Place. When he was diagnosed with TB, his friends rallied enough money to send him to Italy (warmer temperatures were thought to help) where he died with one friend and penniless. The Spanish Steps are named after him in Rome.
  5. 5. Critical ReceptionHe was hated during his lifetime by the establishment (including Wordsworth) since he was called the “cockney poet” because he was from London and ‘common.’They said his poems were full of “petty disgust”, that he should “go back to the shop”, that his writings were “unfit for ladies” and “impertuble drivelling idiocy.”Since his death, he is now venerated as one of the most important and popular poets of the Romantic School.
  6. 6. Keats and Fanny• I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks;" he wrote to her, "...your loveliness, and the hour of my death".[48]• In one of his many hundreds of notes and letters, Keats wrote to Brawne on 13 October 1819, declaring, "My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my Life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorbd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving – I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you ... I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion – I have shudderd at it – I shudder no more – I could be martyrd for my Religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you."
  7. 7. This Grave / contains all that was Mortal / of a / Young English Poet / Who / on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart / at the Malicious Power of his Enemies / Desired / these Words to be / engraven on his Tomb Stone: / Here lies One / Whose Name was writ in Water. 24 February 1821"As Byron quipped in his narrative poemDon Juan;Tis strange the mind, that very fieryparticleShould let itself be snuffed out by anarticle.(canto 2, stanza 60)
  8. 8. Obsessed with beauty"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Hearts affections and the truth of the imagination. What imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth".Final Lines of ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’"Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all You know on earth, and all ye need to know".
  9. 9. The Chameleon Poet• The poetical mind, Keats argues;• has no self – it is every thing and nothing – It has no character – it enjoys light and shade;... What shocks the virtuous philosopher, delights the camelion [chameleon] Poet. It does no harm from its relish of the dark side of things any more than from its taste for the bright one; because they both end in speculation. A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity – he is continually in for – and filling some other Body – The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute – the poet has none; no identity – he is certainly the most unpoetical of all Gods Creatures.• He outlines Negative capability as the poetic state in which we are "capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact & reason ...[Being] content with half knowledge" where one trusts in the hearts perceptions.[85] He writes later "I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Hearts affections and the truth of Imagination – What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth – whether it existed before or not – for I have the same Idea of all our Passions as of Love they are all in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty"[86] again and again turning to the question of what it means to be a poet.[31] "My Imagination is a Monastery and I am its Monk", Keats notes to Shelley.
  10. 10. And still she slept an ______________ sleep, In ______________ linen, smooth, and ___________ While he from forth the closet brought a heap Fill in the Blanks from Of _____________ apple, quince, and plum, and gourd; With jellies soother than the creamy curd, The Eve of St. Agnes And ____________ syrops, _____________ with cinnamon; Manna and dates, in argosy transferr’d From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one, LustrousFrom _____________ Samarcand to cedar’d Lebanon. Chilly BrightXXXI. Lavender’d These delicates he heap’d with ______________ hand (smells like On _____________dishes and in baskets __________ Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand lavender) In the retired quiet of the night, Candied Filling the ___________room with ______________ light.— (sweetened) “And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake! “Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite: Lucent (to “Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes’ sake, shine/ glow)“Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache.” Tinct (tinted)XXXII. Azure-lidded (azure is bright Thus whispering, his ___________ unnerved arm Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream blue) By the______________ curtains:—’twas a midnight charm Blanched Impossible to melt as iced stream: (bleached) The _______________salvers in the moonlight gleam; Broad _____________ fringe upon the carpet lies: Glowing It seem’d he never, never could redeem Silken From such a stedfast spell his lady’s eyes;So mus’d awhile, entoil’d in woofed phantasies. Perfume
  11. 11. SynaethesiaA union of the senses:A real condition where people hear colours, smell light etc.Keats uses it to create sumptuous and sensuous poetry to create the idea of the imagination.