"Although there are numerous interpretations of the concluding lines of Keats's Ode, each of them expresses one of six contending perspectives: that beauty and truth are the same (1) in life, (2) in Keats's dream world, (3) in some Platonic or Absolute reality, (4) in the world of the Urn, (5) in imaginative or artistic perception, and (6) in eternity" (Keesey 48).
Austin really provides multiple perspectives that were very helpful. Who would have thought that there were that many approaches to one line? So far there are many approaches that do not specifically follow the conventions of the a specific criticism. Although this is an authorial intent essay, the basis of looking at the literature, or the specific lines that lie within, are based off of a more formalist approach. Austin really is effective in all six of his interpretations, including a background and an educated rationale behind each and every one of the interpretations.
We also mentioned that being artistic and being useful could coincide (art of the sake of art, and sweet and useful), and Austin implements both of these useful arguments in his essay. Personally, I am amazed that Austin can find this many interpretations behind one of the most influential lines in Keats's writing. My favorite interpretation of the Keats is the interpretation that "beauty refers to imaginative or artistic perception" (Keesey 50), because this relates to both the formalist and authorial intent approaches. I wish that they would have actually discussed how short of a life he lived, and how that could alter his perception of writing. I think that Keats wanted beauty to be associated to eternity, because that was exactly where he was heading at the time.Posted by The Gentle Giant at February 12, 2007 6:38 PM