Keats Context

  • Created by: miaagrace
  • Created on: 05-06-17 20:10
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  • Keats context
    • 2nd Wave Romanticism
      • Rejected
        • 18th century classicism
        • The ordered rationality of Enlighten-ment
        • Impersonal and artificial feeling
      • Embraced
        • Freedom of individual expression
        • Feelings of sincerity, spontaneity and originality
        • Emotional directness and intensity
        • Power of the imagination
      • Politically it was often against any form of authoritarian government
      • Emotionally it expressed an extreme assertion of the self, the individual experience and the dynamic nature of the imagination
      • Socially it was in favour of progressive causes such as democracy, liberty and the end to slavery and poverty
      • Believes a better world was possible and could be achieved not in the afterlife but in the real, material world
      • Many avoided religion in favour of the powers of nature
        • Believed the imagination, inspired by nature, could overcome or ease human suffering. Their work wasn't escapist and was often rooted in human suffering
      • 'essential Keatsian insight: a profound, empathetic identification with an experience, and then its re-creation through 'sensation-al' poetry'
    • Fanny Brawne
      • The ecstasy of love but also fears of loss of freedom and a sense of masculine purposeful-ness
        • 'Ask yourself my love whether you are not very cruel to have so entrammelled me, so destroyed my freedom.'
      • Keats was surely reviewing his relationship with Fanny Brawne via the anguished desires of Hermes, Lamia and Lycius - while working on the poem he was also writing some of his most celebrated love letters to Fanny
      • 'Suddenly, Keats found himself ablaze with the ferocious temporary madness that infatuation inflicts upon the human heart, consumed with thoughts of his beloved and utterly unable to embody the now-legendary notion of 'negative capability'
      • 'My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again - my Life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving - I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you... My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.'
      • Fanny and John remained engaged and in love util his death at the age of 24. The three years of their betrothal were among the most poetically productive for Keats.
    • Historical and Political influences
      • Industrial Revolution
        • In Keats' lifetime the gap between the poor and rich widened. This revolution and Enclosure caused large scale social problems
        • Conditions in factories were appalling, child labour was common, workers were expected to work for 12 hours without a break in dangerous and unpleasant conditions
      • There was general unrest amongst the lower classes and the Tory Government feared a revolution - as a result they passed laws to punish those who showed signs of radicalism
    • Other attitudes to women
      • 'Keats attempting to resolve the dilemma that women are simultaneous-ly the constructions of his boyhood imagination, ethereal, untouchable, pure, and the women of reality who can be capricious and brutal'
      • 'Keats frequently plays the ******... this may initially suggest that women are in an exposed, passive position it also portrays them in an unobtainable one. Being beyond reach is not cruel but it does demonstrate succinctly how mystifying women were to [him]'
      • 'Keats was on a constant quest to reconcile with the real with the ideal, the perfect, immortal goddesses of his boyhood dreams with the beautiful though flawed women of real life... He was puzzled and enchanted by women.'
      • 'abandonment is the resounding effect of female cruelty... it is the male characters who are left alone, broken, bewildered, one may even say, pathetic.'
    • Disease and illness in family
      • Lost both of his parents when he was young, including his mother who died from tuberculosis
      • At 15 Keats entered a medical apprenticeship and eventually went to medical school.
      • At 20, Keats abandoned his medical training to devote himself to poetry
      • He tried to nurse his brother back to health yet he still died of tuberculosis. He died of tuberculosis himself at 25


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