On First Looking into Chapman's Homer Notes

On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

John Keats 

1816

KEY THEMES

  • Literature and Writing
  • Ambition
  • Awe and Amazement
  • Exploration
  • Immortality

CONTEXT

  • Written in one night after John Keats and Charles Cowden Clarke read George Chapman's translations of the works of Homer
  • Chapman's Homer was not regarded highly, with scholars preferring Pope and Dryden's version.
  • Keats, born into a lower-middle-class family, may have felt isolated from the literary world because of his social status.
  • Keats' poems were not highly regarded during his lifetime, adding to his sense of isolation
  • Homer wrote "The Odyssey" and "The Illiad"
  • "The Odyssey" tells the story of Odysseus' voyage home to his wife and Ithaca. It was a long and laborious journey that mirrors the journey Keats believed he was going to take. 
  • The imagery of travel and geographical islands in "In First Looking..." could represent Keats…

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