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Keats wrote Isabella because he wanted to produce a commercial success, but he also thought it was 'too smokeable', i.e. that critics would ridicule it.What do you consider to be the positive aspects of the poem?
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Keats wrote Isabella because he wanted to produce a commercial success, but he also thought
it was 'too smokeable', i.e. that critics would ridicule it.
What do you consider to be the positive aspects of the poem?
Why might it also have been susceptible to criticism?
'Isabella; or the pot of basil' was written soon after Keats had attended lectures by a critic. The critic had suggested that a poetic translation of the 14th century works by the Italian writer Boccaccio 'could not fail in the present day'. Keats's poem is based upon the Italians story called the 'Decameron' in which Isabella's love strengthens due to her loss of her true love, Lorenzo, who her brothers were unable to accept into the family and so disposed of him. The fact that the poem is based upon someone else's story may have got the poem ridiculed by critics because it was not original; also Keats was not yet a well established poet (as he was from a humble background) and so he might have been ridiculed for using other authors hard work just for profit and due to the fact that someone else thought it
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