RomanticismJohn KeatsOde to AutumnBy : Douha Almansour,Maram Aljehani.
Romanticism 18th and 19th centuries The Romantic Age :Romanticism was a movement in literature, art, and music that emphasizedfeeling over thought. In many ways it was a reaction to TheEnlightenment, or at least it was a reaction against the philosophic notionthat human actions were guided by the unchangeable forces ofeconomics, sociology, and physics.Romanticism has very little to do with things popularly thought of as"romantic," although love may occasionally be the subject of Romantic art.Rather, it is an international artistic and philosophical movement thatredefined the fundamental ways in which people in Western culturesthought about themselves and about their world.
Romantic LiteratureRomantic literature is dominated by poetry. The triumvirate ofKeats, Shelley, and Byron are still well-known. The poetry of Keats issentimental, that of Shelley intense, and Byron displays a mastery ofsardonic wit.*Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated inlate 18th century Western Europe. It stressed strongemotion, imagination, freedom within or even from classical notions ofform in art, and overturning of previous social conventions, particularlythe position of the aristocracy.*The Romantics asserted the importance of the individual, the unique, eventhe eccentric. Also Romanticism is often understood as a set of newcultural and aesthetic values. It might be taken to include the rise ofindividualism.
John Keats (1795 – 1821)John Keats ( born in 1795 - dead in 1821) was an English Romantic poet. Hewas one of the main figures of the second generation of romantic poetsalong with Lord Byron and P. B. Shelley, although his work only havingbeen in publication for four years before his death.Also John Keats one of England’s greatest poets, he was a key element in theRomantic Movement. Known especially for his love of the country andsensuous descriptions of the beauty of nature, his poetry also resonatedwith deep philosophic questions.Although his poems were not generally well-received by critics during hislife, his name grew after his death, so that by the end of the 19th centuryhe had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He had asignificant influence on a various range of poets and writers.
The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in theseries of odes. Today his poems and letters are some of the most popularand most analyzed in English literature.Themes :Many of John Keats poems contain the themes of the effects oftime, change, life vs. death, the mortality of human life, suffering, andbeauty.The theme of "To Autumn" is that time passes and that each portion isappreciated by different individuals and the theme of change is alsopresent in this poem.
Introduction* "To Autumn" is a poem for anyone who has a little trouble letting goodthings come to an end. It could be a relationship, a cherished experience, orjust something you outgrow. And, of course, it could even be a favorite timeof year.* Before writing this poem, John Keats surely knew that the rational thing todo would have been to write a poem in praise of spring, the season of life andrebirth. But despite their reputation for intense emotions, the BritishRomantic poets were not sentimentalists. They famously wrote odes in praiseof things that most people wouldnt think to praise, like "Dejection" or"Melancholy." They found beauty in the neglected corners of life. In "ToAutumn," Keats finds beauty in the lengthening days, chilly weather, andbrown fields of fall, the time just before winter squelches the last bit ofwarmth and everyone retreats to their fires and hot cider.* Sadly, Keats was to become a living example of things coming to an end toosoon. He died at the age of 25, only two years after completing this poem.
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and blessWith fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers; And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cider-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are the Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, - While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft, Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Summary of the First Stanza* Lines 1-2Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;* From the title its clear that the speaker is talking about autumn. The speaker brieflydescribes the season and immediately jumps into personification, suggesting thatautumn and the sun are old friends.* "Mists" often accompany chilly weather.* "Mellow fruitfulness”." The word "mellow," meaning low-key orsubdued, is a good fit for autumn, with its neutral colors and cool, yet notcold, weather. And its also the season when many fruits and other crops areharvested, making autumn fruit-full.* Autumn is a close friend of the sun, who is "maturing" as the year goes on."Maturing" could be a polite way of saying "getting old." The sun is no longer in itsprime.
* Lines 3-4Conspiring with him how to load and blessWith fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;*now the sun and autumn are "conspiring,“.*They are planning how to make fruit grow on the vines thatcurl around the roofs ("eves") of thatched cottages.The image highlights the weight of the fruit as it "loads" downthe vines.Thatched cottages suggest a pastoral setting, characterized byshepherds, sheep, maidens, and agriculture. The "pastoral" as aliterary genre was thought to originate in Ancient Greece, and the odeis a Greek form, so it is appropriate for this ode to include pastoralthemes. Keatss other Great Odes, especially "Ode on a Grecian Urn,"include similar imagery.
* Lines 5-6To bend with apples the mossd cottage-trees,And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;* The apples "bend" down the branches ofmossy trees with their weight. The trees belongto the simple cottages of country folk.*The ripeness penetrates deep to the verycenter of the fruit.
*Lines 7-8To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shellsWith a sweet kernel; to set budding more,* In line 6, the ripeness converged on the center ofthe fruit. Now, the ripeness expands like a balloonto "fill up" nuts and gourds. The opposition of thesemotions helps us visualize the process.*"Gourds" include things likesquash, zucchini, and, especially, pumpkins.*"Hazel" is a plant that produces the nuts thatadd delicious flavor to coffee or gelato. The nut isthe "sweet kernel" that we eat.
*Lines 9-11And still more, later flowers for the bees,Until they think warm days will never cease,*The "budding" that the speaker describes is in the future.*Autumn isnt just a time of things dying off, turningbrown, and falling to the ground. It also sets the stage for thereturn of growth in the spring. From natures perspective, fruitis the mechanism for planting new seeds.*The speaker goes on a little imaginative trip into thenext spring and summer, where the bees take advantage ofthe flowers that began as a small seed in autumn. The beesthink the summer will never end, and that the flowers willalways be in bloom.*The bees are like prisoners inside of "clammy cells,"the cells being the moist insides of the flowers in which they seek nectar.
Summary of the Second Stanza*Line 12Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?*Keats returns to the personification of spring. Heasks a rhetorical question: Who hasnt seen autumnhanging out by his or her (were not sure yet)"store" of fruits, nuts, and other ripe things?*The word "store" suggests the abundance ofcrops.
*Lines 13-14Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may findThee sitting careless on a granary floor,*He is going to tell us how to find autumn now.*All anyone has to do is travel through thecountryside hitting up every "granary" – buildings wherelarge amounts of harvested grain are kept cool and dry –until you find autumn sitting on the floor of one of them.*Now that the grain has been harvested, autumndoesnt have a care in the world.*"abroad" means "widely" or "through thecountryside" or "across the land," rather than "in aforeign country."
*Line 15Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;*From this line we will guess that autumn is awoman. Not only because seasons weretraditionally personified as female in Europeanart, but also because this season has soft hair.*Keats never uses "she" or "her" in a directway in this poem.*Autumn has nothing to do but hang out. Shesits on the granary, and her hair is lifted by a gentlewind.
*Lines 16-18Or on a half-reapd furrow sound asleep,Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hookSpares the next swath and all its twined flowers:*He says that if Autumn is not on the threshing floor, shemight also be on the furrow of a field that has only partially beenharvested. Shes taking a nap because shes earned one. "Furrows" arethe long, undulating hills that you see in fields, on top of which cropsgrow.*The speaker claims that autumn is basically drunk on thesmell of the poppy flowers that she was going to harvest. She lies onthe furrow while the "hook," or sickle, that she uses to cut the flowerslies unused. She hasnt gotten to the next "swatch" of flowers, sotheyre saved... for now.*The reference to poppies is no accident. Poppies were usedto make opium, a drug that was popular in England in the 19thcentury.*Of course, the smell of the flowers alone could not makesomeone intoxicated, except metaphorically.
*Lines 19-20And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keepSteady thy laden head across a brook;*The harvesting metaphors continue, as autumnis compared to a "gleaner," someone who picksout the last stalks of grain that were missedduring the threshing process.*Autumn puts her head down to crossover a brook. Her head is "laden" or heavy – yetanother image of weight.
*Lines 21-22Or by a cider-press, with patient look,Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.*But, if we still havent had autumn, after searching allthose other places, we might try the "cider-press," whereshes totally mesmerized watching the fruit get squeezedinto a thick, sugary juice.*Cider is frequently alcoholic, so this could beanother reference to an intoxicant.*Autumn has nothing to do, nowhere to be. Shecan "patiently" watch the thick juice or "ooze" of theapples drop from the press for hours.*The word "Oozings" captures the concentratedsweetness of the season.
Summary of the Third Stanza*Lines 23-24Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--*The final stanza begins with another rhetoricalquestion, which is, "Where are your songs Spring?*He reassures autumn, who might be feeling inadequatecompared to her more celebrated counterpart, that she hasher own music.*Keats alludes again to the pastoral tradition inpoetry, in which shepherds typically "sing" inspringtime, often while playing a lyre.
*Lines 25-26While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;*The speaker begins to describe the "song" of autumn. Itsmore of a metaphorical song.*He describes the patchy clouds, between whichpatches of sky can be seen, as "barred." These clouds appearto be in "bloom," like flowers, as they light up with the colorsof sunset. The use of "bloom" is a direct challenge, again, tospringtime.*The day is "dying" at sunset, but its not a tragic orviolent death. Its "soft" and gentle.*The reddish colors of the sunlight "touch" the fieldsgently. The fields have been harvested, so all that is left as aflat "stubble" of crop.
*Lines 27-29Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mournAmong the river sallows, borne aloftOr sinking as the light wind lives or dies;*The gnats by the riverside "mourn" the dying day. They are "wailing"as if the daylight had been a favorite grandparent or something.*In fact, they are just doing what gnats do: coming out atevening time. The choir sound is the collective buzzing of their tiny little wings.*Gnats especially like to hang out in wet areas, near trees, and herewe find them near the willow or "sallow" trees down by the river.Their movement appears to be coordinated with the light.Light gets brighter, gnats go up; light gets dimmer, gnats go down.* Keats is having all kinds of fun with movement and directions in thispoem.The speaker continues to paint the sunset as a life-or-deathstruggle for the light.*The sound of the gnats contributes to the song of autumn.
*Lines 30-33And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble softThe redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.*The poem concludes with more animal sounds, but those of a moreconventional variety than the buzzing of gnats.*Lambs are bleating near the small stream, or "bourn," that flowsdown a hill. The speaker calls them "full-grown lambs," which is likesaying, "full-grown child“. He seems to want to highlight the in-between stagebetween the glorious ripeness of youth and plain old adulthood.*Crickets are "singing" by rubbing their wings together, otherwiseknown as "chirping."*With a soft but high ("treble") voice, the redbreast robin is whistlingin an enclosed garden, or "garden-croft."*The swallows have been taken to the sky at twilight, and they"twitter" joyfully as the sun goes down.
The Analysis of The Five Senses of Imagery*Visual (Sight).* Aural, Auditory (Sound).* Smell, Olfactory.* Taste, Gustatory.* Sensation, Tactile (Touch).
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! • Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how to load and blessWith fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep, Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers; And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cider-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, - While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft, Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
Man and the Natural World"To Autumn" contains very specific naturallandscapes and images. The first stanza offersimages of the interaction between humans and theplants that surround them. The second describesthe production of agriculture, a natural process thatis controlled by people. The third stanza movesoutside of the human perspective to include thingsthat are not used or consumed by humans. Thisthird section captures some of the "wildness" andunpredictability of nature.
TimeIt is not a coincidence that "To Autumn"mentions autumn and spring, but not winter.Keats doesnt want to dwell on the cold days tocome. To appreciate autumn, we need to forgetabout how each passing day seems a littleshorter and chillier. For the most part, thespeaker stays focused on the present moment.The natural world is at the peak of sunlight andripeness in the first stanza, and by the thirdstanza the sun is setting.
TransformationAutumn is the time of transformation between thegrowth of summer and the dormancy of winter. Thingsare winding down, and once the harvest iscomplete, there is nothing left to do but wait until thenext season. Much of the transformation in the poemoccurs between stanzas. For example, in the first stanzafruits and gourds are swelling outward before they will bepicked for food. By the second stanza, the harvest isalready complete, or mostly complete, and the ripeapples have been turned into rich, delicious cider. Thethird stanza focuses only on one transformativeevent, the setting of the sun.
MortalityAutumn is frequently used as a symbol inliterature for old age, the time beforedeath, symbolized by winter. "To Autumn"avoids any super-obvious references todeath, but we do get some subtle ones, like theoblivious bees that think the summer will lastforever, or the "hook" that spares the poppyflowers from their inevitable end. As the daybegins to "die" in the final section, the entirelandscape contributes to the song of mourning.