John Keats

John Keats- Ode on Melancholy

          encapsulated irresolvable paradoxes; mingled contrarieties of life

          tragic human destiny that beauty, joy and life itself  owe not only their quality but their value to the fact that they are transitory and turn into opposites

          melancholy: depression involving a paralyzing self-consciousness engendered by an excess of thought

          full of paradoxes and contradictions

          saying “no” to an easy way to die- forget through drugs

          wants to remain in that tension; doesn’t want to sort it out for us

          response to Coleridge’s drug us; speaking to himself and other poets…don’t go for the oblivion, avoidance of melancholy; don’t let them represent you

          “wakeful anguish”: wants to retain pain, wants to be wide awake, alive and perceptive

          talks of herbs(Keats was once an apprentice to an apothecary)

          doesn’t want to indulge in mind altering substances to escape melancholy

o   he wants to feel and experience his soul’s anguish; perceptive about his own pain

          glut: overindulgence, an excess, sensual image

          rose/ rainbow/ peonies→ nature, come after darkness, not always around, all improved by rain

          if you truly experience beautiful things, there’s sadness at the center of it

          beauty doesn’t last…its’ fleeting

          joy is also fleeting…we almost never experience it

          paradox: inevitable, once you experience true beauty and joy you’ll get the transience of those things

          uses female presence (parasite on his emotions)

          sorrow needs contrast to sustain its intensity

          PARADOX: melancholy = anguish, yet you need it to have beauty and life

John Keats- Ode on a Grecian Urn

          sculptured reliefs of revelry and panting young lovers in chase and in flight, of a pastoral piper under spring foliage and of the quiet procession of priest and towns people, resembles parts of various vases, sculptures and paintings → exists only in his imagination

          the urn captures moments of intense experience in attitudes of grace and immobilizes them in marble

          with the urn Keats found perfect correlative for his concern with longing for permanence in a world of change

          the urn is ornamental all over with an interwoven pattern

          hint at the emotional anguish of the figures portrayed on the urn; evil and suffering


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