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John Keats


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John Keats

  1. 1. John Keats<br />1795-1821<br />
  2. 2. Brief Biography<br />Son of a stable-owner<br />Small of stature (barely 5ft when grown), but still athletic.<br />Had poor health most of his life<br />Felt he would have an early death<br />Parents died when he was young<br />Apprenticed to an apothecary<br />Started writing when he was 18<br />Had a ill-fated engagement with Fanny Brawne<br />1821 Dies in Rome<br />
  3. 3. Fanny Brawne<br />Met her in September of 1818<br />Keats was 23 she was 18<br />We know very little about her, her letters were buried with Keats<br />All we see is his side of the story<br />His letters were intense and passionate<br />Love was a disease only she could cure<br />He loves her but death imagery is often mentioned in the letters<br />Refers to her as “the Minx” in letters to friends<br />Relationship was apparently never consummated<br />He was never financially secure enough to marry her<br />
  4. 4. Literary…continued<br />Sensuous<br />Distinctive description<br />Engages all of the senses<br />Mythic imagery<br />Borrows from Greek Mythology<br />Frustrated Sexuality<br />Pleasure vs. pain<br />Lethal women – almost “vampiric” imagery<br />“Christabel”<br />“Lamia”<br />Was the least political of the 2nd generation Romantics<br />Some say he was reacting to the social horrors by being intentionally “escapist”<br />
  5. 5. Literary Traits<br />Most of his poetry is written between 1818-1821<br />Constantly experimented with poetic forms<br />Ie: Spenserian Sonnet<br />Sub-form of the English sonnet<br />Ababbabccdcdee rhyme scheme<br />Eventually writes in blank-verse<br />
  6. 6. The Odes<br />Probably his most distinctive achievement<br />Most of them written in the spring of 1819<br />Composed very quickly<br />Very self-aware<br />Examines the creative process<br />Poems of “sensation” rather than thought<br />Written during a tumultuous time in his life:<br />Death of brother<br />His own ill health<br />Pining for Fanny Browne<br />
  7. 7. The Odes…continued<br />"Beauty is truth, truth beauty.“ <br />reconcile the frankly human experience :<br />of touch, taste, hearing, and sight <br />moral and philosophical aspirations of timeless art<br />rich, evocative language<br />luscious sounds, sensual symbols of beauty <br />Keats focuses on the images of the nightingale and the urn<br />a symbolic debate of the sensual pleasures and pains of mortal existence versus the ecstatic dissolution of self in art. <br />identification between the speaker and the symbol and the knowledge of its (the nightingale’s or the urn’s) limitations<br />“emblem for the tragedy of human experience”. <br />
  8. 8. Odes…continued<br />Keats strives for an aesthetic objectivity in his poems:<br />"negative capability,“<br />Poet’s personality does not intrude into the poem<br />engages some of the same Romantic preoccupations:<br />failure of the imagination, <br />heightened observation of nature<br />innovation of lyrical forms<br />
  9. 9. Nightingale - Summary<br />the poet becomes numb to the world <br />escapes to the dark realm of the nightingale’s song<br />hopes he can die at that moment of joy; <br />considers the consequences of death, <br />the eternal life of the nightingale<br />he is called back to his self and the fleeting experience of artistic pleasure.<br />
  10. 10. Grecian Urn - Summary<br />poet praises the urn <br />considers its features with inquisitive joy<br />he imagines the idealized and permanent state of each unconsummated passion represented there<br />ecstatic sympathetic identification with the passion<br />considers the sacrifice, the mysterious motives of the pagan ritual<br />poet contemplates the urn<br /> objective coldness <br />eternal mentor speaking to the mortal clay.<br />
  11. 11. Themes<br />Beauty is the inspiration of the human spirit<br />it is the inevitable nature of things to destroy beauty<br />art is the permanent expression of transient beauty. <br />The nightingale’s song becomes the vehicle for the poet’s imagination, expression, ecstasy;<br />the urn is the timeless historian of human passion, the preserver of idealized song, love, and faith.<br />
  12. 12. Journal Question<br />How would you explain the poet’s relationship to the nightingale in the ode? How does it change from the beginning to the end? <br />Evaluate the ending of "Ode to a Nightingale." What is the difference between a vision and a dream? Why theambiguity? <br />
  13. 13. “The Eve of St. Agnes”<br />Keats: Part II<br />
  14. 14. “Eve…” Background<br />Saint Agnes<br />Patron saint of virgins<br />Feast is on January 21st<br />The “eve” is on the 20th<br />Ritual women could perform to discover their future husband<br />
  15. 15. “Eve…” the story<br />Heroine is going to perform this ritual<br />meanwhile., great party is going on in her castle<br />Her love interest, Porphyro endangers himself in an attempt to see her<br />Star-crossed lovers – families are at odds<br />He gets past her family, sees her<br />They consumate their love and escape<br />
  16. 16. Themes<br />Religious imagery vs. earthly pleasures<br />Madeline character forsakes immediate pleasure to dream of the future<br />Does this make her vulnerable?<br />What is the basis for this belief?<br />Who is she deceived by?<br />Imagery of heat vs. cold<br />Merlin and the Demon (Vivien perhaps?)<br />Dream and enchantment – waking to a different reality<br />Dreams vs. nightmares<br />Why does the narrator stress how long ago this was?<br />