Keats And Romanticism

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To what extent do the Keats poems you have studied demonstrate features of Romanticism? Romanticism was a movement in the late eighteenth or nineteenth century that marked a response against the Neoclassical and moved away from traditions. The period arose so gradually and contained so any phases that an exact definition is not possible. Romanticism contained two “Generations” that comprised of different views and perspectives about religion, art and philosophy. Keats was a typical second Generation poet, and due to this he had many characteristics similar with Byron and Shelley. Keats also shares some literary characteristics with the first generation poets, such as Wordsworth and Coleridge, but Keats can be described as more “intense”. Two of Keats’ Odes that display distinct second generation characteristics include Ode to a Nightingale and To Autumn. Keats structures his Odes in a typical Romantic fashion; he begins in the real world, admiring a real object such as a Nightingale, before he slips into the world of the ideal, where he raises questions about mortality, philosophy and his place in nature. However, he then returns to the real world, dissatisfied with his imaginative journey and returns with more questions than answers. Keats raises these questions in To Autumn by comparing life, represented by “full-grown lambs” and death in the “soft-dying day”. The comparison between the life “songs of Spring” in death, the season of Autumn, shows how Keats is contemplating his own mortality, after watching his mother and brother die of tuberculosis. Keats’ appreciation of nature in To Autumn also reveals Keats as a Romantic poet. Keats’ elevation of nature indicates a relationship between the poet and nature. As the poet sits and “watchest the last oozings hour by hour”, a relationship is formed due to the poet’s appreciation of nature. However, this
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