John Keats was born on 31 October 1795 to Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats in Central London
Keats was prolific in his short writing life, and is now one of the most studied and admired of British poets
He had a painful childhood
The headmaster, John Clarke, was an important influence, introducing Keats to a great deal of Renaissance literature.
In 1815, Keats registered as a medical student.
He chose poetry over medical practice
He was a second generation Romantic poet.
His first surviving poem ’An Imitation of Spenser’comes in 1814, when Keats was nineteen
A leading magazine ‘The Examiner’ first published his work ‘Sonnet O Solitude’.
Endymion, was graced with mythological, poetical, and artistic imagery.
Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperionfocus on mythological themes; the story centers on the Titans' fall to the triumphant Olympians.
He also wrote The Eve of St. Agnes, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Lamia and Otho.
The letters of Keats are among the most celebrated by any English poet.
Keats's entertaining and illuminating letters rank highly in the history of all English literary correspondence.
Other works considered to be among Keats's greatest are the odes published in 1820.
John Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 on Feb. 23rd 1821.
His last request was to be buried under a tombstone, without his name.
The epitaph reads: This Gravecontains all that was Mortal,of aYoung English Poet,Who,on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart,at the Malicious Power of his Enemies,Desiredthese Words to be engraven on his Tomb Stone:Here lies OneWhose Name was writ in Water
In 1819, John Keats composed six odes in a short period of time that have become some of his most famous poems.
These odes represent Keats's attempt to create a new type of short lyrical poem, which influenced later generations.
Ode to Psyche Ode on a Grecian Urn Ode on Indolence Ode on Melancholy Ode to a Nightingale Ode to Autumn
It is the final work in the group of poems of keats 1819 odes.
It is a transitional poem that celebrates not only the richness and poignancy of the season but also the beauty of decay.
He was inspired to write the poem following a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening.
The work marks the end of his poetic career as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet.
Letter to his friend "How beautiful the season is now--How fine the air. A temperate sharpness about it. Really, without joking, chaste weather--Dian skies--I never lik'd stubble fields so much as now--Aye better than the chilly green of the spring. Somehow a stubble plain looks warm--in the same way that some pictures look warm--this struck me so much in my Sunday's walk that I composed upon it."
"To Autumn" has been regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in the English literature, and it is one of the most anthologized English lyric poems.
The poem includes an emphasis on images of motion, growth, and maturation
To autumn Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;Conspiring with him how to load and bless With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shellsWith 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'er brimmed their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may findThee 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 hookSpares the next swath and all its twined flowers;And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keepSteady 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 dayAnd touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mournAmong the river sallows, borne aloftOr sinking as the light wind lives or dies;And 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.
Keats’s speaker opens his first stanza by addressing Autumn, describing its abundance and its intimacy with the sun, with whom Autumn ripens fruits and causes the late flowers to bloom
In the second stanza, the speaker describes the figure of Autumn as a reaper or harvester, often seen sitting on the granary floor, her hair “soft-lifted” by the wind, and often seen sleeping in the fields or watching a cider-press squeezing the juice from apples
In the third stanza, the speaker tells Autumn not to wonder where the songs of spring have gone, but instead to listen to her own music
Ode to a nightingale
The nightingale, as its name suggests, is famed in literature to sing at night
The nightingale represents nature happiness, song and merriment.
The bird’s song haunts the speaker until his “heart aches”
He wishes to enter the “immortal” world of the nightingale
The speaker listens in the dark to the nightingale, saying that he has often been “half in love” with the idea of dying
The speaker tells the nightingale that it is immortal, that it was not “born for death.”
The world of imagination is not a place that a man could ever live in. This knowledge causes the narrator to become disheartened as the imaginary world is destroyed
Keats attitude towards nature Keats writes about nature in two ways: He tells us about the beauty in nature He tells us about the joy and relief nature can bring.
In his poetry, we come across exquisitely beautiful descriptions of the wonder sights and senses of nature.
Keats's love for nature is purely sensuous and he loves the beautiful sights and scenes of nature for their own sake
He does not try to find any hidden meaning in nature and he describes it as he sees it.
Keats found in nature endless sources of poetic inspiration, and he described the natural world with precision and care
In a letter to John Taylor (1818), he outlines certain axioms of poetry among which is the notion that if poetry comes not naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.
In the letter to Tom: What astonish me more than anything is the tone, the coloring, the slate, the stone, the moss, the rock-weed; if I may say so, the intellect, the countenance of such places. The spaces, the magnitude of mountains and waterfalls are well imagined before one sees them; but this countenance or intellectual tone must surpass every imagination and defy any remembrance. I shall learn poetry here and henceforth write more than ever, for the abstract endeavourof being able to add a mite to that mass of beauty which is harvested from these grand materials, by the finest spirits, and put into ethereal existence for the relish of one’s fellows
He indulges in the world of natural beauty
In the "ode to Nightingale", Nightingale and he becomes one, his soul sings in the bird which is the symbol of joy.
Fade for away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leave hast never known, The weariness the fever, and the fret
Similarly, in "Ode to Autumn" he looses himself in the loveliness of autumn. He lives wholly in the present and does not look back to the past or look forward into the future.
Keats' description of nature is very beautiful and he, in fact, paints the pictures with words.
Another quality of Keats, as a poet of nature is that he often presents the objects of nature as living being with a life of their own. In "Ode to Autumn" he says:
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;
Prior to his death in 1821, he wrote : 'I have left no immortal work behind me nothing to make my friends proud of my memory but I have loved the principle of beauty in all things, and if I had had time I would have made myself remembered'