The poetic theory of John Keats

Pothen, Sara Susmitha (1982) The poetic theory of John Keats. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF (Migrated (PDF/A Conversion) from original format: (application/pdf)) - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (36Mb)
  • [img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
    (Original Version)

Abstract

In the early years of his poetic career Keats regarded poetry primarily as a form of escape. The poet, he believed, fleeing from the painful realities of life, takes refuge in a dream world of enchanting beauty and unalloyed bliss. Keats held that this sensuous paradise conjured up by the poet's imagination ought to form the basis of poetry. -- This juvenile conception of poetry gradually yields to a mature view. Keats becomes convinced that a great poet, instead of turning his back on real life, has to draw sustenance from it. He should, he realizes, have an intimate, personal acquaintance with human sorrow. He must be educated in the school of life. This will enable the poet to explore and to shed light on the dark chambers of the mansion of human life. In short, Keats comes to regard the poet as an interpreter of human life. -- In Keats's view, the distinguishing characteristic of a great poet is "negative capability." He considers a poet who has this quality as superior to one who does not have it. A poet who possesses "negative capability” does not, he believes, approach life with certain preconceptions or attempt to view it in the light of a personal philosophy. Unlike the philosopher who strives to arrive at absolute certainty through intellectual reasoning, the poet fully trusts and faithfully records his intuitions, without attempting to fit them into a rational system of thought. -- Keats believes that poetry should not teach, but merely "reveal" to the reader the poet's intuitions regarding the meaning of the universe. Keat’s conception of poetry as revelation is intimately linked to his mature conception of poetic beauty. In his years of maturity Keats associates poetry with a “beauty" which is equal to "truth." The poet looks at the world in a state of detached imaginative contemplation. In such a state, the universe is seen as a harmonious whole. In Keats's view, what appears to the imagination as "beauty" in a disinterested state of contemplation constitutes the "truth" of things. The poet embodies in poetry the "truth" which his imagination has perceived as "beauty." The picture of life set forth in poetry stimulates the reader's imagination and excites deep speculation on the purpose and meaning of life. Such imaginative speculation on the part of the reader culminates in a greater insight into life.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5478
Item ID: 5478
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 165-168.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Keats, John, 1795-1821--Criticism and interpretation

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics