February 12, 2007

Eternal Keats

"A reader who considers Keat's poems and letters knows that Keats would not under any circumstances mean that knowledge of eternity is the only knowledge that Man needs. Keats would have had to mean that earthly intimations of eternity was all the knowledge of eternity that Man needs" (Austin 51).

Who knew Keats was so hung up on eternity. Without this article, I doubt I would have initially seen the idea of eternity in "Ode to a Grecian Urn". Actually, I doubt I would have seen a lot of things in the poem...like why the Urn is suddenly personified to be an object to give the reader an understanding about life.

So how did this idea of eternity in the poem come about? By looking at the past, we can understand the present- at least with literary works. Instead of looking at Keat's personal life regarding his religious feelings on eternity and the ideas about it during his time, Austin reviews his own works instead. Past works reveal a lot about a writer and maybe even more so than their biography. If evidence of eternity is found in other works, why not apply this theme to "Ode to a Grecian Urn"? His letters as well add an insight into what Keat's believed in and how it could have been represented in the poem. This is almost as good as asking Keat's himself.

Austin, ''Toward Resolving Keats's Grecian Urn Ode -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at February 12, 2007 11:26 AM | TrackBack

Why ask some crusty old critic who thinks he knows it all when Keats has already provided the meaning through his revelations in letters and other poems? How would a Formalist respond?

Posted by: Dave Moio at February 12, 2007 10:01 PM

A formalist probably wouldn't use terms such as "crusty," Dave.

I do believe you can get a lot out of a writer's other works, but what if a writer is conscious of a changing in their works, or trying to make a change happen? You see a lot of authors today trying to go in a new direction or take on a new style to avoid being typecasted. If the writer stops doing the same thing, how can you compare it to his/her later works?

Posted by: Valerie Masciarelli at February 14, 2007 9:48 PM
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