John Keats died of tuberculosis at the age of 25 after writing a remarkable number of poems that have helped define the Romantic tradition. Keats and his siblings George, Tom, and Frances Fanny lost their father when he died after a fall from a horse in , and their mother to tuberculosis in Keats was an apprentice to an apothecary—surgeon when he was 15; he received his apothecary certificate in , but gave up that profession in order to write. Keats was acquainted with the writer and editor Leigh Hunt, who introduced him to some of the leading intellectuals and writers of the time. Dogged by illness and poverty, Keats was unable to marry Fanny Brawne, whom he fell in love with and was engaged to in
Comparison of William Blake and John Keats
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Negative capability is a phrase first used by Romantic poet John Keats in to explain the capacity of the greatest writers particularly Shakespeare to pursue a vision of artistic beauty even when it leads them into intellectual confusion and uncertainty, as opposed to a preference for philosophical certainty over artistic beauty. The term has been used by poets and philosophers to describe the ability to perceive and recognise truths beyond the reach of consecutive reasoning. Keats used the phrase only briefly in a private letter, and it became known only after his correspondence was collected and published. In a letter to his brothers, George and Thomas, on 22 December , Keats described a conversation he had been engaged in a few days previously: . I had not a dispute but a disquisition with Dilke , upon various subjects; several things dove-tailed in my mind, and at once it struck me what quality went to form a Man of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. This pursued through volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.
Faculty Book Analyzes ‘Negative Capability’
By calling into question the truth of his stories, he disorients readers who are expecting to read a standard fiction, where the events are undoubtably false. He also shows readers why reinventing a story may be more important than telling the story just as it is remembered. Garson believes that Keats is reinforcing the representation in race, class and gender relations. Garson tells us that Ode on a Grecian Urn has no significance or relation to historical context.
This piece is about 15 printed pages long. See our [»»] Copyright notice. Doing more harm than good, Negative Capability is a term we should, and can, do without.