On Earth of Eternity

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"Without wrenching the syntax, we can read the final lines as 'Beauty is truth, truth is beauty' in eternity--that is all you know or need to know on earth of eternity." -Allen C. Austin on supporting his thesis that eternity is the most realistic explanation saying that beauty and truth are the same.

In "Toward Resolving Keat's Grecian Urn Ode," I found the entire process of the essay interesting. Austin began the essay looking at the six contending perspectives critics look at while reading the last lines of "Ode on a Grecian Ode." He then evaluated each of the six perspectives and pointed out each of the faults in the critical readings. Towards the middle of the essay, Austin agrees and begins to prove the idea of eternity is the x-factor in understanding truth and beauty being the same. Just like we discussed in class, Keat's personal life and history was a large factor in Austin's supporting evidence to his claim. Keat's letters corresponding with Bailey and in his personal life filled with uncertainty and unhappiness. Austin then suggested that Keat's imagination is an escape where he could imagine an eternal love and happiness. Overall while reading the essay I focused more on the style of writing. I'm not sure if that is right, but I found the format interesting and effective while Austin convinced me of the idea of eternity.

On another note, I have known for some time now that the authors history really interests me and I am glad it was a large part of this essay and analysis.

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Bethany, I really liked the way Austin set up his essay as well. I really think we can learn a lot from what he did. He considered what other claims are out there and carefully and meticulously proved why each of these was improbable (or in the case of the one which he decided to argue was probable, set out all the reasons why it was right). I found his argument very convincing as well. Like you, I too, also find learning about the author’s personal life and the historical context when they wrote to be both helpful in analysis and interesting. This is partially why I have difficulties with the idea of analyzing literature solely through the school of formalism. Discounting the author’s life and focusing only on the words, devices, and structure is a hard thing to do without any sort of basis to stand on about what the author may have intended.

I appreciated Austin's critical style as well. Like Greta and yourself, I am not a formalist. While I do prefer to react initially to the text alone, eventually, I like to seek outside sources as well. I feel that by studying the personal history of an author as well as the worldly history concurrent with his lifetime we can gain a broader sense of understanding for who the author was and what he may have reacted to or included in his writings based on his personal beliefs and surrounding society.

I too enjoyed Austin's style. I found it to be, for me, the most interesting read. I liked how he took the six different stands and unraveled them through the use of Keats's poem to prove his arguement. I think as a critical reader you have to investigate all of the aspects of the text, history, and author.

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