Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Blake schema

October 2, 2017 | Author: Giulia Sanna | Category: John Keats, Poetry, Science, Philosophical Science
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JOHN KEATS Life (1795,London-1821,Rome) Very sad life, full of pain, troubles, sorrow, difficulties and illness (because of tuberculosis). He went to university but he left for writing, because it was the only reason of his life. He fell in love with a woman, Fanny Brawne but they never married because of Keats’ total devotion to poetry and illness. Poetry (his greatest passion)      

Together with art is the only reason to defeat death and decay “Something absolute” “Should spring naturally from his inner soul” Keats took inspiration by Shakespeare’s sonnets, the themes where: the passing of time, immortality given by the poetry “ eternal lines”, transience of human beings Poetry is the only way to reach immortality because everything is destined to fade away Poet had to reproduce IMAGINATION suggested to him and what struck his imagination most was BEAUTY

The cult of Beauty (Keats was the forerunner of the Estetic)      

Is a source of joy (“A thing of beauty is a joy forever) Is, as art, permanent and everlasting Two kind of beauty - Physical Beauty = (nature, women, paintings, sculptures) things destined to die - Spiritual Beauty = (poetry, love, friendship) things eternal Beauty imagined is far superior to Beauty perceived, the senses being more limited than creative imagination “An artist can die, but the beauty he has created lives on” B. as a concept of consolation

Negative capability = the ability of the poet to deny himself in order to identify with the object of inspiration; the ability to experience the “uncertainties, mysteries, doubts” without any irritable reaching after fact and reason Keats believed in the supreme power of Imagination which is able to transform an ancient Greek vase into something extraordinary. Through the “ear of imagination” you can go beyond the senses

ODE ON A GRECIAN URN Keats’ best known poem. The celebration of the beautiful scenes which adorn an ancient Greek urn. THE URN = is cold because is made of marble, and because it has no real life, but the imagination brings life to it.      

What imagination seizes (afferra) as Beauty must be TRUTH (vv 49-50) Relation art-life = art much more superior (eternal, perfect, not subjected to the passing of time) Love in the world of art is perfect, human love is a source of suffering because “leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue” Art is superior to life because “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard aresweeter” The artist has captured the best moment and has stopped it on the marble making it eternal. The Urn is a perfect work of art that will decay as art gives immortality The urn preserve the scene on it from the process of decay due to age and passing of time.

Summary In the first stanza, the speaker stands before an ancient Grecian urn and addresses it. He is preoccupied with its depiction of pictures frozen in time. It is the “still unravish’d bride of quietness,” the “foster-child of silence and slow time.” He also describes the urn as a “historian” that can tell a story. He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn and asks what legend they depict and from where they come. He looks at a picture that seems to depict a group of men pursuing a group of women and wonders what their story could be: “What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? / What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?”

In the second stanza, the speaker looks at another picture on the urn, this time of a young man playing a pipe, lying with his lover beneath a glade of trees. The speaker says that the piper’s “unheard” melodies are sweeter than mortal melodies because they are unaffected by time. He tells the youth that, though he can never kiss his lover because he is frozen in time, he should not grieve, because her beauty will never fade. In the third stanza, he looks at the trees surrounding the lovers and feels happy that they will never shed their leaves. He is happy for the piper because his songs will be “for ever new,” and happy that the love of the boy and the girl will last forever, unlike mortal love, which lapses into “breathing human passion” and eventually vanishes, leaving behind only a “burning forehead, and a parching tongue.” In the fourth stanza, the speaker examines another picture on the urn, this one of a group of villagers leading a heifer to be sacrificed. He wonders where they are going (“To what green altar, O mysterious priest...”) and from where they have come. He imagines their little town, empty of all its citizens, and tells it that its streets will “for evermore” be silent, for those who have left it, frozen on the urn, will never return. In the final stanza, the speaker again addresses the urn itself, saying that it, like Eternity, “doth tease us out of thought.” He thinks that when his generation is long dead, the urn will remain, telling future generations its enigmatic lesson: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” The speaker says that that is the only thing the urn knows and the only thing it needs to know.

SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE Life (1772,Devon-1834) Most important event: he met Wordsworth and they wrote together the “Lyrical Ballads” Life marked by aggression, despair, large use of opium, trouble, difficulties, he suffered of rheumatism that caused him great pain. Many poems written under the influence of opium, he goes into a dreamlike world. Features Romantic features     

Exotic place Elements from the nightmarish world of the Gothic novel Inspiration from Middle ages and popular literature Oriental taste Perception of strange sounds = clear sensations of crying and choking (typical of people who make use of opium

His main protagonists were haunted souls, his novels have a tragic end. Coleridge wrote about the adventures of a chief character using the presence of SUPERNATURAL (his contribution to the Lyrical Ballads. The story is a story of a crime and its punishments.

THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER This poem is in ballad form. The Mariner killed an albatross (symbol and omen of good luck, mystical bird, from the medieval and oriental tradition) with no apparent reason (this is a crime against nature) Killing an albatross is a sacrilege, the bird was a guest, he was received by the crew, it’s a crime against the law of hospitality. The Mariner is punished, he has to travel from land to land and tell his story. Also the crew is punished, because they justified the Mariner’s crime, they’ll die one by one by thirst. Turning point =At a certain point the mariner blesses some water snakes recognising them as God’s creatures so his redemption starts, and the curse begins to break He tells the story to three wedding guests, they are compelled by mysterious forces to listen to the Mariner (he has glittering eyes) At the end of the lesson the wedding guest will be a better person. MORAL OF THE STORY = “To love and respect all God’s creature” With the alternation of real and unreal elements he gives credibility to the narration.

Elements of Supernatural        

Old Mariner, who is compelled by mysterious forces to tell his story again and again Albatross, endowed with supernatural powers Supernatural creatures Ice which make nightmarish sounds and glistens with strange colours The sun looks bloody The moon is extraordinary white The sea seems to burn with strange colours The wind suddenly become noiseless and motionless through still pushing the ship on

Part I: The Wedding guest, the voyage, stuck in ice, he kills the albatross. The Mariner (long grey beard; glittering eye; skinny hand; bright-eyed) stops a wedding guest and forces him, spellbound, to listen to his story. The ship sails south to equator. Wedding guest hears music of wedding beginning. A storm hits the ship and impels it south. They are stuck in ice. (frightening atmosphere : it cracked and growled and roared and howled.) An albatross appears and is befriended by the shipmates. A south wind springs up and takes them northward. He kills it with his crossbow. Part II: They suffer punishment for his crime and are becalmed. The crew at first cry out against him, but then commend him when the fog clears off. They sail north and become becalmed at the equator. They suffer from thirst. Slimy things are on the surface (slimy sea), and lights are on the water and masts at night. A spirit follows them under the ship nine fathoms down. They hang the bird around his neck. Part IV: He is left alone for seven days. He blesses the water snakes, and the spell is broken. He is left alone and tries to pray but cannot. For seven days he looks at the dead men and cannot die. He sees the water snakes by the light of the moon. He recognises their beauty and that they are God’s creature, he blesses them and is able to pray. The albatross falls from his neck. Part VII: The ship sinks but he is saved. He is compelled to wander and tell his tale. The sounds of merriment come from the wedding party within. He tells how sweet it is for him to have company after being alone on the sea and tells the wedding guest to love all thing both great and small. (He prayeth well, who loveth well Both man and bird and beast. He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small) The wedding guest leaves and rose the next morn wiser and sadder.

Occasion of the Lyrical Ballads In Biographia Literaria (1817), a classic text of literary criticism and Autobiography Coleridge explained the dual task which he and Wordsworth had set themselves in the Lyrical Ballads. In contrast to Wordsworth's preoccupation with subjects from ordinary life, his own task was to write about extraordinary events in a credible way . It is in this light that the effort at making extraordinary situations familiar and realistic can be fully appreciated. In fact Coleridge presents each action and each situation in a concrete form in which the details are selected for their appeal to common experience; however unnatural these events may be, they originate from natural elements, and for this reason they can be considered real.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH Life He was born in 1770 in the Lake District (area of supreme nature) , his childhood was thoughtless, happy, delightful, joyful. He went on a Walking Tour (France, Alps), but then he went to live with his sister Dorothy (trustful sister) At first he was attracted by the ideas of the French revolution but when it proves to be a failure he had feelings of disillusion, disappointment and dissatisfaction. He met Coleridge, they became friends (together love for nature, walks, romantic feelings) → they wrote together the Lyrical Ballads  1st edition 1789 (published anonymously)  2nd edition 1800 (with the Preface, the manifesto of the English Romanticism)

Main themes   

NATURE = living force, alive, manifestation of God on earth, Pantheistic vision, source of joy, is a consolation “in hours of weariness” CHILD = child protagonist, important figure ROLE OF THE POET = he is “a man speaking to other men”; he has more powerful imagination, he is more joyful, he feels more pleasure then others. He is a teacher (simple language), he helps the humankind to “understand the mystery beyond the real”

THE PREFACE TO LYRICAL BALLADS (or THE MANIFESTO OF ENGLISH ROMANTICISM) Wordsworth’s task in the Lyrical Ballads  Choose “incidents and situations from common life”; “low and rustic life where generally chose” = preference of rustic life because men are better when closer to nature, far from vices, corruption etc of industrialized society. Rural life → genuine and spontaneous  The use of “language really used by men”  The use of the “colouring of imagination” (definition → Blake)  Poetry is “ a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”  Poetry takes its origins from “emotion recollected in tranquillity” = when the poet is far from nature, he remember the beautiful scenes he saw and then he is able to create an emotion similar to the original one. This emotion is not immediate, but is contemplated and reflected, this allows the poet to write down the poem Why it is choose the form of the lyrical ballads for the collection “The Lyrical Ballads”?  It was the typical expression of the village community life of the Middle Ages  The stories where those of ordinary people (Wordsworth) and stories of supernatural events (Coleridge)  Ballads = simple language, concrete images ; Lyrical = as an adjective, because underline both the musical and the emotional attitude in the poems

I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD Wonderful experience in the lake district → he saw a large number of yellow daffodils, dancing in the breeze -

Nature alive and living force (also personificated) Poet lonely but happy because is part of nature “A poet could not but be gay in such a jocund company” Theme of JOY = jocund company, sprightly dance, glee, gay, bliss, pleasure The poet is amazed by NUMBER (crowd, host, continuous, never ending line, ten thousand); COLOUR (golden, shine, twinkle) MOVEMENT (dance, waves)

TINTERN ABBEY The poet visit the Wye valley and the ruins of Tintern Abbey after five years with his sister  1st part → description of what he sees and he expresses his emotions and feelings → ha is deeply impressed by what he sees  Description of natural landscape (steep and lofty cliffs, landscape, plots of cottage-ground, orchard tufts, green hue, hedge-rows)  Quietness of the landscape (secluded, deep seclusion, silence, quite) but there is also human presence (dwellers, hermit)  Emotions recollected in tranquillity = “But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din Of towns and cities, I have owed to them In hours of weariness, sensations sweet, Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart” “tranquil restoration”  The poet says that the feelings of five years after are not dissolved, they are impressed in him, the memory gave him moral strength and courage  But this memory gave him another gift : the feeling that he was raised about the mysteries and the miseries of the actual world into a state of suspended animation, in which he is able to “see into the life of things”  Nature helps the poet to go beyond physical world to see the ultimate essence of things

WILLIAM BLAKE Life     

Earliest of the romantics, he was a painter and an engraver Writing and the visual arts were always closely associated for him → he made use of very complicated symbols, writing in a simple language (nursery rimes) First poet to deal with the exploitation of children He was interested in the political and social problem of the time: he hated slavery, loved justice and freedom, criticized the conditions of the poor and the oppressed Like Wordsworth he fist hailed French revolution but then disappointed

Themes 

He didn’t believe in men’s rationality; reality could only be fully understood through IMAGINATION = “the ability to see more deeply into the life of things”, a power which is peculiar to the poet, to the child and to the man in state of nature Child = man in his natural state, not corrupted by the cruel society; symbol of freshness and purity


Meant to be read together → they represent the two contrary states of human soul that, even if they can’t be reconciled they coexist in the same person of situation, they don’t destroy each other but they complete Contrary states = good and evil, purity and corruption, innocence and experience Without contraries there is no progression – Universe is made up of opposite things WORLD OF INNOCENCE = apparently Garden of Eden, fearless, full of joy and happiness, not yet tested by the world of experience… the symbol is the lamb (tender, meek, mild) pure, innocent, generous, unspoilt, uncorrupted …deeply connected with the child.. identification with Christ WORLD OF EXPERIENCE = spoilt, selfish, cruel, corrupted… symbol is the tiger, beautiful but dreadful (fearful symmetry) aggressive, full of strength and power

“The Lamb” – “The Tiger” “Little Lamb, who made thee?” (the lamb) ; “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” (the tiger) They deal with the problem of the creation and the identity of the Creator In THE TIGER the Creator → powerful immortal being → skilful blacksmith who is shaping the tiger → distant from ordinary men It is possible that God who created the lamb created the tiger as well? → Yes, for Blake’s philosophy of contrasts

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