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From your reading so far what seems to be Keats's chief strengths and preoccupations?

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Introduction

From your reading so far what seems to be Keats's chief strengths and preoccupations? At the time when John Keats was born it was said that, 'poets are born, not made.' Poets at the time were either gentlemen from the upper class, or well educated with intellectual backgrounds. Keats's background, at the time, was definitely of the lower classes; he did not have any social advantages that many of his contemporary poets took for granted. As well as this, there was nothing, in his early life that was suggestive of his poetic talent. He had to be a self-made poet. Keats grew up in a time of upheaval in every way, a time of new political thinking, of social and humanitarian reform, a revolutionary time that had earlier spawned the French Revolution which in turned had strengthened the will to change everywhere in the early nineteenth century. These times brought with them the Romantic Movement. Romanticism was a rebellion. It was a reaction against the stiff views of poetry in the previous century, where technique was prized higher than inspiration and common sense higher than passion. ...read more.

Middle

Although the title refers to a specific literary work, Chapman's Homer, the subject of the poem is the experience of discovery and vision; emphasising imagination as a getaway to freedom - reference to 'Romanticism.' The picture of Cortez standing on the mountaintop gazing out to sea and, specifically, the focus on visual imagery 'eagle eyes,' 'star'd at,' 'look'd at,' convey an almost light-headed sensation of prospect and vision. Upon reading Chapman's Homer, Keats experienced such a feeling of exhilaration and expansiveness. Keats exploits the sonnet form to reinforce the rhetorical progression of the metaphors. After eight lines that establish the general analogy between reading poetry and exploring the world, Keats focuses on the specific discovery at the heart of the poem. The colon at the end of line eight contributes to this emphasis by suggesting that the whole poem has been preparing for the image presented in the final six lines of the sonnet. (Interestingly, Keats uses this approach in many of his poems, sub-dividing them into 4,4,6.) ...read more.

Conclusion

His poems were marked with sadness partly because he was too poor to marry Fanny Brawne. Keats broke off his engagement and began what he called a "posthumous existence." "When I have fears that I may cease to be" is an expression of Keats's melancholy. When he wrote this poem, he was still quite sick and it was obvious that his ill health was not improving. Consequently, he developed a negative outlook on life. He expressed himself with the following poem, one I consider to be among his finest. In conclusion, few poets ascend to the level of John Keats, and even fewer ascend to that level at such an early age. John Keats was only 26 years old when he died however; he was considered, along with Wordsworth, to be the Romantic poet of the 19th century. He was the archetype of the Romantic writer. While still in good health, Keats was ambitious of doing the world some good, instead of focusing on his own sensitive soul. Keats felt that the deepest meaning of life lay in the apprehension of material beauty, although his mature poems reveal his fascination with a world of death and decay. James Kennedy ...read more.

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