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What are features of Romaticism in Keats's poems? 

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sunam | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:16 AM via web

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What are features of Romaticism in Keats's poems? 

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 1, 2010 at 6:34 AM (Answer #1)

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What Keats does in his poems helped to develop the idea of Romanticism.  He defined it, in effect, along with several other poets of his period.  In other words, your question could certainly be turned around to ask something like:  what are features in Keats that demonstrate what eventually became called, Romanticism. 

The point is that everything in Keats is romantic poetry.  He is a romantic, and everything he does is romantic. 

Several important elements of Keats's poetry came to define Romanticism.

  • Interest in the lyric, the personal. 
  • Interest in the transcendent, that which is beyond human understanding.
  • Interest in the transcendent as it relates to nature.
  • Interest in a glorified or romanticized past, both the medieval and the classical.
  • Interest in the role of the poet, as well as in the creation of his art.
  • Interest in the imagination, which intuitively connects with nature and the transcendent and develops over time.

The above are what Keats is interested in writing about.

 

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stella-lily-rothe | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 17, 2010 at 7:41 AM (Answer #2)

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"Beauty is truth, truth beauty: that's all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." ~ Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn" 

This sums up the overall mood of a Keats' poem, yet there is so much more to Keats. 

He was, first and foremost, a romantic dreamer.  Everything seems beautiful under his pen, even the rockiest and most sorrowful subjects.  Love and death became one desire for Keats, especially towards the end of his 25 years on earth. 

In a letter to his lover Fanny Brawne, Keats writes, "I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death ... I hate the world: it batters too much the wings of my self-will, and would I could take a sweet poison from your lips to send me out of it." (1818) 

Comparing his poems and letters, it is a surprise that Keats was not happy in this world.  Many of his poems deal with sorrow, but even these are brightened by his natural references to earth, nature, wildlife, love, and beauty.

There are many aspects of sheer Romanticism in Keats' work. He only wrote for 5 years, but in those 5 years he (posthumously) became one of the world's greatest writers.  What does his work show to be Romantic style?

  • Keats' incorporated nature into his poems.  He does not generally write about nature, but he uses it as a device to make his poetry romantic and gentle.  Nature v. Culture is the number one rule of Romanticism.
  • Keats was very poor.  His poetry received harsh reviews while he was alive.  He spent much of his time hiking, walking, and moving through nature.  He was, indeed, and outsider: a very important element in Romanticism.
  • Despite his depression, Keats wrote endlessly on love and beauty.  These two themes overwhelm his work.  They are mixed with his feelings of depression, but they have become what Keats is most remembered for.  It is not that Keats was superficial: he sought out beauty, but not the beauty of gold and diamonds.  For him, love and nature were beautiful.  The stars were beautiful.  Death was sublime.  Fanny Brawne, above all, was beautiful.
  • Keats was heavily influenced by ancient mythology; texts by Homer, Dante, Virgil, Shakespeare, etc.; fellow Romantic poets Shelley and Byron; Latin; and classical poetic form.  He wrote many "epic story poems" such as HYPERION and ENDYMION.  These are all habits of the Romantics.

Keats had a deep love for Shakespeare.  Every year, he celebrated Shakespeare's birthday, and he would request that his friends send him letters that day with quotes from the Bard in them.  He longed to be a playwright on the level of Shakespeare; this was, in fact, his great ambition.  He began to write plays, but they remained unfinished: he died in 1821 at age 25. 

Death, sorrow, love, and nature are signature traits of the Romantics.  Appeciaton for earlier writers, mythology, and Latin are comon themes in Romanticsim. Keats followed all of these "rules" and epitomizes Romanticism at its best.

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arjun | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted February 11, 2013 at 4:04 AM (Answer #3)

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John Keats is the poet of Romantic era.In his work,we find the most characteristics of Romanticism:

01.  The poets of Romantic Movement gave priority to the topics of lower class, common people and country side unlike the neo-classical poets, focusing on difficult and abstract topics. Keats composed poems on  Ode on the Grecian Urn, Ode to the Nightingale,Endymion etc.even odes and lyrics are also the characterictics of Romanticism becaue the neo-classical poets followed blank verse and prosaic style.

02. In his poems,there is the effect of hellenism,but over all ,his diction is country side and natural.They come out with the over flow of ideas. His follow of beauty in all forms also show his love for nature. It reminds the slogan of 'Return to Nature'.

 His poems are enjoyed with great verve because of his love for beauty whom he calls beauty is truth and truth beauty. 

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