John Keats Questions and Answers

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What is sensuousness?

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Sensuousness simply means that which relates to the senses. It's very much a hallmark of Keats's poetry. A great example occurs in "Ode to a Nightingale" where Keats describes in sumptuous detail the intoxicating effect that drinking wine has upon him:

O for a beaker full of the warm South
Full of the true the blushful Hippocrene.

Although the sense of sight may not be very prominent in this particular poem—nightfall is approaching, after all—the sense of smell most certainly is. As he sits in a garden amidst the encroaching gloom, Keats can smell the pungent perfume of many different flowers:

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet.

Arguably the most explicitly sensuous of all Keats's works is the "Ode to Autumn" in which all five senses are stimulated by this "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness." Here, Keats delights in the gorgeous sight of ripe flowers, fruit, and "moss'd cottage-trees." Then there is the sweet music of nature that instantly appeals to his ear:

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft.

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mrafiq | Student
Sensuousness means something that has to do with our five senses. Sensuousness is that trait of poetry which influences our five senses i.e., hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting. Sensuous poetry appeals to our senses. Sensuous poets do not present any moral idea or philosophy in their poetry. Their chief concern is to write poetry just for the sake of poetry. They are fond of presenting us such pictures which may arouse our senses. Sensuous poetry deals with concrete images instead of abstract images. In this sense, John Keats is the most sensuous poet in the history of English literature. He is called the mystic of senses. He is sensuous to the core of his heart in his poetry. His imagery is sensuous to a great extent. In one of his letters, he says, O for a life of sensation than of thoughts. John Keats poems are loaded with concrete and sensuous imagery. In Ode to Nightingale, he appeals to our sense of sight: “O Attic shape! Fair attitude! With brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the troubles weed.” Then he gives us more lines of poetry which directly appeal to our sense of hearing. As the following lines from the Ode to Nightingale prove him a complete sensuous poet: “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;”