Columbia University Press, London: John Murray. Reprinted in by Echo Library, p. Elliot R Faking Nature. In: R. Elliot ed. Warkentin ed. In: B Williams and A. Montefiori eds. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Columbia University Press. Hillel D Environmental Soil Physics.
- John Keats.
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New York: Columbia University Press, pp. Leopold A Conservation Esthetic. Parsons G The Aesthetics of Nature.
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 52 no. Contemporary Aesthetics. Cited October Spaargaren O Anthrosols and Technosols. Spaid S Reclamation and Restoration Aesthetics. Wessolek G Art and soil. Wolfe D Introduction. In: Wolfe, Tales from the Underground. Cambridge, MA: Perseus Publishing, Zangwill, N Formal Natural Beauty. Today we see the poem more as a great achievement not only in style but also in thoughtful and carefully balanced tone. But most critics today see the poem as an extraordinary balance of these opposing forces, shrewdly and at times playfully self-aware of its own conventions, leading the reader to a continuous series of mediations between artifice and reality, dream and awakening.
The more we imagine beauty the more painful our world may seem—and this, in turn, deepens our need for art. The great odes of the spring and fall— Ode to Psyche , Ode to a Nightingale , Ode on a Grecian Urn , Ode on Melancholy , To Autumn written in September , Ode on Indolence not published until , and often excluded from the group as inferior —do not attempt to answer these questions. The order of the odes has been much debated; it is known that Ode to Psyche was written in late April, Ode to a Nightingale probably in May, and To Autumn on 19 September , but although Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode on Melancholy are assumed to belong to May, but no one can be certain of any order or progression.
But, perhaps, a new kind of humanist paganism was possible to a modern world of self-consciousness and secular knowledge, emptied of Christian orthodoxy. Thus the poem turns from its questioned but spontaneous vision to a hope for a return of Psyche in a prepared consciousness. But despite the sense of achieved conclusion, Ode to Psyche begins with a question and ends with a hope. The unself-conscious and delightful initial vision can only be expectantly invoked.
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Instead what follows is a troubled meditation, one of the richest and most compressed in English poetry, on the power of human imagination to meet joy in the world and transform the soul. But imagination needs temporality to do its work. It then tantalizes us with a desire to experience the eternity of the beauty we create. But again, no real experience is possible to us—as the central stanzas suggest—apart from time and change.
Imagination seems to falsify: the more the poet presses the bird to contain, the more questionable this imaginative projection becomes. For Keats, an impatience for truth only obscures it. If art redeems experience at all it is in the beauty of a more profound comprehension of ourselves not of a transcendent realm , of the paradoxes of our nature. To expect art to provide a more certain closure is to invite only open questions or deeper enigmas.
In Ode on a Grecian Urn this theme is explored from the perspective not of a natural and fleeting experience the bird song but of a work of pictorial art, a timeless rendering of a human pageant. Perhaps more has been written on this poem, per line, than any other Romantic lyric. And today it is perhaps the best—known and most—often-read poem in nineteenth-century literature.
The poem seems to be an imaginative creation of an artwork that serves as an image of permanence.
Core Samples of the Sublime—On the Aesthetics of Dirt
But it is in the nature of poetry, unlike painting—a distinction we know Keats often debated with Haydon—to create its meaning sequentially. Human happiness requires fulfillment in a world of process and inevitable loss. Others see the lines dissolving all doubts in an absolute aestheticism that declares the power of art to transform painful truths into beauty. In the Ode on Melancholy the subject is not the ironies of our experience of art but of intense experience itself.
Melancholy is not just a mood associated with sad objects; in this poem, it is the half-hidden cruel logic of human desire and fulfillment. In our temporal condition the most intense pleasure shades off into emptiness and the pain of loss, fulfillment even appearing more intense as it is more ephemeral.
His maturing irony had developed into a re-evaluation and meditative probing of his earlier concerns, the relation of art and the work of imagination to concrete experience. But the odes also show supreme formal mastery: from the play of rhyme his ode stanza is a brilliantly compressed yet flexible development from sonnet forms , to resonance of puns and woven vowel sounds, the form itself embodies the logic of a dialogue among conflicting and counterbalancing thoughts and intuitions.
Keats considered giving poetry a last try, but returned all the books he had borrowed and thought of becoming a surgeon, perhaps on a ship. Keats was ill this summer with a sore throat, and it is likely that the early stages of tuberculosis were beginning. His letters to Fanny Brawne became jealous, even tormented.
But throughout the summer he wrote with furious concentration, working on his rather bad verse tragedy Otho the Great , which Brown had concocted as a scheme to earn money, and completing Lamia , his last full-length poem. A young man, Lycius, falls in love with a beautiful witch, Lamia, who is presented with real sympathy. She leads Lycius away from his public duties into an enchanted castle of love. But at their marriage banquet Lamia withers and dies under the cold stare of the rationalist philosopher Apollonius, who sees through her illusion, and Lycius, too, dies as his dream is shattered.
The issues, of course, recall The Eve of St. To many readers, it has seemed that these unresolvable ironies imply a bitterness about love and desire. It is clear, though, that Keats sought to present his story without sentimentality or the lush beauty of romance. Yet Keats was striving for some sense of resolution in these months, as autumn approached. He turned back to Hyperion with the thought of justifying the life of the poet as both self-conscious and imaginative, committed to the real, public sphere even while his imagination soothes the world with its dreams.
This strange, troubling, visionary fragment, The Fall of Hyperion unpublished until , is his most ambitious attempt to understand the meaning of imaginative aspiration. It is a broad Dantesque vision, in which the poet himself is led by Moneta, goddess of knowledge, to the painful birth into awareness of suffering that had deified the poet-god Apollo in the earlier version. Notably, the speaker here never appears as a subject, except implicitly as a calming presence, asking questions but allowing the sights, sounds, and activities of the season itself to answer them.
But the intensity here, unlike that of Ode to Melancholy , does not end in extinction and painful memory. Such subjectivity is avoided; the season is mythologized and imagined as herself a part of the rhythms of the year. Ay, where are they? He lived to see his new volume, which included the odes, published as Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems in early July The praise from Hunt, Shelley, Lamb, and their circle was enthusiastic. In August, Frances Jeffrey, influential editor of the Edinburgh Review , wrote a serious and thoughtful review, praising not just the new poems but also Endymion.
The volume sold slowly but steadily and increasingly in the next months. His odes were republished in literary magazines. But by summer , Keats was too ill to be much encouraged. In the winter of he nearly decided to give up poetry and write for some London review. He was often confused and depressed, worried about money, often desperate with the pain of being unable to marry Fanny Brawne, to whom he became openly engaged about October. But Keats continued to prepare his poems for publication, and to work on The Fall of Hyperion and a new satiric drama, The Jealousies first published as The Cap and Bells , never completed.
Then, in February , came the lung hemorrhage that convinced him he was dying. Such a state in him, I knew, was impossible. Despite some remissions in the spring, he continued to hemorrhage in June and July. His friends were shaken, but in those days there was no certain way to diagnose tuberculosis or to gauge its severity, and there were hopes for his recovery.
In the early summer he lived alone in Kentish Town Brown had rented out Wentworth Place , where the Hunts, nearby, could look in on him. But living alone, fearful and restless, trying to separate himself from Fanny Brawne because of the pain thoughts of her caused him, he became more ill and agitated. The Hunts took him in, as they had years before at the beginning. But he was taken in, desperately ill, by Fanny and Mrs. Brawne, and he spent his last month in England being nursed in their home.
He was advised to spend the winter in Italy. He declined, but hoped to meet Shelley after a stay in Rome. Keats left for Rome in November , accompanied by Joseph Severn, the devoted young painter who, alone in a strange country, nursed Keats and managed his affairs daily until his death. They took pleasant rooms on the Piazza di Spagna, and for a while Keats took walks and rode out on a small horse.
In his last weeks he suffered terribly and hoped for the peace of death. He was in too much pain to look at letters, especially from Fanny Brawne, believing that frustrated love contributed to his ill health. He asked Severn to bury her letters with him it is not clear he did. Yet he thought always of his friends and brothers.
I can scarcely bid you good bye even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow. Brown, Severn, Clarke, Reynolds, and others all contributed to his Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats , which, whatever its flaws as a reliable scholarly biography, was widely read and respected. Keats brought out the warmest feelings in those who knew him, and that included people with a remarkable range of characters, beliefs, and tastes.
One can say without sentimentality or exaggeration that no one who ever met Keats did not admire him, and none ever said a bad—or even unkind—word of him. His close friends, such as Brown, Clarke, and Severn, remained passionately devoted to his memory all their lives.
The urgency of this poetry has always appeared greater to his readers for his intense love of beauty and his tragically short life. Keats approached the relations among experience, imagination, art, and illusion with penetrating thoughtfulness, with neither sentimentality nor cynicism but with a delight in the ways in which beauty, in its own subtle and often surprising ways, reveals the truth. The greatest collection of Keats letters, manuscripts, and related papers is in the Houghton Library, Harvard.
Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. John Keats. Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton. Poems by John Keats. Related Content. More About this Poet. Region: England. The Eve of St.
The Human Seasons. Lines on the Mermaid Tavern. Meg Merrilies. Modern Love. Ode on a Grecian Urn. Ode on Indolence. Ode on Melancholy. Ode to a Nightingale. Ode to Psyche. On a Dream. On First Looking into Chapman's Homer. On Seeing the Elgin Marbles. On the Grasshopper and Cricket. Robin Hood. To Autumn. To Fanny. To Homer. To Sleep. Show More. Anti-Love Poems. For breakups, heartache, and unrequited love.
Read More. Fall Poems. Poems to read as the leaves change and the weather gets colder. Poems to integrate into your English Language Arts classroom. The Cranberry Cantos. Thanksgiving poems for family and friends. Halloween Poems. Spooky, scary, and fun poems that will make your hair curl. Love Poems. Classic and contemporary love poems to share. Poetry and Music. Composed, produced, and remixed: the greatest hits of poems about music. Bohemian Tragedy. By Joy Lanzendorfer. By Kathleen Rooney. Stephanie Burt on girlhood, Twitter, and the pleasure of proper nouns. Fact-Checking John Keats.
From Poetry Off the Shelf August Did the young poetic genius know his history? Who cares if he didn't? Poem Sampler. John Keats By Benjamin Voigt. Poem Guide. By Martin Earl. By Caitlin Kimball. Keats and King Lear. By Adam Plunkett. For the poet, Sundays were not for church, but for Shakespeare. Keats in Space. By Molly Young. The Romantics fused poetry and science.
Is there any hope for a revival? My Denis Johnson.
By Jay Deshpande. Adept across genres, Johnson made a lasting contribution to poetry. From Audio Poem of the Day September By Camille Guthrie. A poet uses a punctuation mark to plot a crime.
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From Audio Poem of the Day April John Keats read by Michael Stuhlbarg. Discussion Guide. Verse Aversions. Mixed Feelings in the January Poetry. From Audio Poem of the Day June Ollier, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St.
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Galignani, ; Philadelphia: Stereotyped by J. Howe, Further Readings. Elkins and L. Robert A.