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Week 5, ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800

by: Marshall DeFor

Week 5, ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800 ENGL 231

Marketplace > University of Nebraska Lincoln > Education > ENGL 231 > Week 5 ENGL 231 British Authors 1800
Marshall DeFor
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These notes cover week five of ENGL 231. This include material regarding John Keats, his life, the second wave of Romanticism, and the symbolism of the nightingale.
English Authors > 1800
White, Laura
Class Notes
english, poetry, Keats
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Marshall DeFor on Monday September 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ENGL 231 at University of Nebraska Lincoln taught by White, Laura in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see English Authors > 1800 in Education at University of Nebraska Lincoln.


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Date Created: 09/26/16
ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800: Week 5 Week 5 Recap Hello, fellow students! Once again, it’s me, Marshall DeFor. This week, we discussed Keats’s tragic life story and how his story relates to his poetry. We also discussed the shift of focus from nature to art in the second wave of Romanticism and the imagery of the nightingale. I wrote all of the following material, unless it is otherwise cited. Life gets crazy, so hopefully, this takes some of the pressure off of missing a day or missing a section of notes or reading! Table of Contents: Lecture Notes Monday Wednesday Friday Readings for the Week: Selected works of John Keats Lecture Notes Please keep in mind that this is supplemental material only. I am a human, and I make mistakes. I cannot write down everything that is said or presented. These notes should provide you with a large amount of what was presented but may not include all of the material that you need to know. The main goal of these lecture notes are to help you remember the major points of each lecture, as well as provide some background information on each key point. Monday I. John Keats A. Only lived to be 25 years old B. He knew he was going to die, and this colors all of his poetry C. He nursed his brother with tuberculosis three years before his death, and he coughed up blood. TB is terminal, and there was nothing that anyone could do about it. D. He came from a poor family; his parents died when he was a teenager. He went off early to study at “Guy’s Hospital” to be a surgeon, but he know that he should be a poet. II. Fanny Braun A. Lived next to Keats B. He fell deeply in love with her, but Keats had an ethical conviction not to marry because he knew that he was going to die. Partially because of money C. She wore mourning clothes for eight years after his death. Later, she married and had children. III. “Your affectionate brother,” A. Very passionate love; this is apparent in many sonnets B. Probably never consummated their relationship 1I will not be doing an analysis of poetry in this class because poetry is a personal experience and has many interpretations based on past experiences of the individual. Through the class lecture notes, the professor will often provide analyses of poems read in the class. ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800: Week 5 IV. Special phrase on his tombstone: ​“T​his Grave contains all that was mortal, of a YOUNG ENGLISH POET, who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his heart, at the Malicious Power of his enemies, desired these words to be Engraven on his Tomb Stone ​Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water” V. “When I have fears” A. About Keats’s mortality dilemma B. Metaphors: 1. Before he can move the harvest from the field (his brain) to the silos (the books) 2. While looking at the constellations, (stories of tragedies, narrative, human beings’ stories rendered in the sky,) he hopes his writing will 3. Mention of “fair creature of the hour” is Fanny C. Turnaround: The rhyme of Think/Sink: to Keats, to think is to sink - there is no consolation, he will be “alone in death” eventually VI. “On reading Chapter’s Homer” A. Keats “travell’d in the realms of gold” by reading. B. Self-educated: medical education, but not classical education C. He never read Homer, as it was in Greek, but he read it in Chapman’s translation. This poem is about the applaud of Chapman to bring Keats into Homer’s world. Yet, Chapman’s translation is really weird. D. This translation his Keats like a wall, as he didn’t have any way to compare this translation to others. E. “stout Cortez” - Keats gets it wrong. Cortez didn’t discover the Pacific, he looked for the city of gold in Texas and the Mississippi. F. “Darion”: In 1705, there was a unification act. Scotland never would have done this unless there was a very good reason: they lost ⅓ of their wealth because of the “Darion project” in Panama. Sent twelve ships there, and soon, they’re almost all dead. Malaria, unfriendly natives, no gold, not enough food… wiped out so much wealth that Scotland signed onto the United Kingdom to get bailed out. G. This is how he felt when he opened the book: like he discovered a planet or the Pacific. H. Shift in second-wave Romantic poets from nature to art. VII. “Elgin Marbles” A. Bas Relief: sculpture emerging out of stone 1. Parthenon 2. Keats saw it with white stone; however, the Ancient Greeks would have dolled it up with colors 3. It’s the bare grandiosity that Keats is responding to. B. Looking at these marbles made Keats feel like he was going to die. 1. Everything made him think about death 2. These works are so old and have lasted so long. They are imperfect, yet have managed to exist for almost 3000 years. ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800: Week 5 3. The Human Condition C. The poem ends in dashes, phrases, and ideas. The dizzy feelings of pain that are produced in Keats leaves him in fragments. VIII. La belle dame sans merci A. Letter to Fanny: “I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks… your loveliness and the hour of my death” (1819) B. This is a ballad, an archaic, capacious form that is beautifully created to tell a story C. Narrative of wicked fairy enchantment D. Specifically archaic words, such as “knight-at-arms” E. Story: 1. “Le belle dame” is a beautiful woman that is up to no good. 2. The knight comes under her spell. 3. He wakes up on a cold hillside after-ahem-spending time with her 4. He desperately wants to find her again, and may be wandering the hills forever F. Sense of cutting off in the fourth line of each stanza G. Four kisses: four in a witchy number IX. Information on the exam: A. Five identified passages B. Students must discuss the passage’s meaning to the work as a whole, to other works by the same author, and the passage’s relevance to Romanticism as a literary and cultural movement. A close reading is highly recommended (with regard to imagery, allusions, metrics, and irony.) C. Each answer is worth twenty points. D. Hey, don’t plagiarize. Wednesday ● All that Wordsworth got out of nature, Keats gets out of art. ​ ● Adonais is Percy Shelley’s eulogy of Keats. ● Analysis of “Ode on a Grecian Urn” ○ The urn is an imagined urn; all we have is Keats’ depiction of the urn. ○ Processional or battle pictures on the largest part of the urn ○ Circular pictures could be why Keats saw immortality in the urn ○ Keats’ urn: men chasing lovers on one side, religious sacrifice on other ○ Paradox: this urn is silent, yet has a story to tell. ○ “Still” has three meanings: static, quiet, constant ○ “What maidens loth?” (loath to be caught) ○ “What pipes and timbrels?” There is no sound coming from the urn, and Keats really picks up on this. “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/ Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;/ Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,/ Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:” ○ Keats looks to the young man chasing the girl. Keats sees this is better than his life because this person is in the perpetual bliss of almost kissing someone. ○ Now, Keats moves to the procession. The heifer is being led to the slaughter, but the heifer will never die. Keats sees a citadel in the background of the procession, and notices that it will be empty forever because the people from it are in the procession. The emptying out of ​ the town may have been an influence on Browning’s P ○ Attic: of Athens; Greek ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800: Week 5 ○ At the very end, in the appropriate way of odes, there is a strong assertion that “beauty is truth, truth beauty,” and people are unsure as to whether the poet or the urn says “--that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” ○ Only the perceivers of the urn can obtain knowledge; the urn is just an artifact. ○ This yearning after static immortality is actually somewhat horrendous. Friday ● Nachtegaal/Common Nightingale Singing ○ Nightingales have been associated with poets for a long time. They are not very pretty, not very big, but have a beautiful song. ○ Shelley on why the nightingale: “sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds” (A Defense of Poetry) ○ This poem is more or less based in reality, the only difference is a midday change to dusk ○ One of the world’s most beautiful and famous British poems; really affected other writers ○ Hemlock = trying to escape the world ○ Imagining finding ways to obliterate his senses: river of forgetfulness, opium, hemlock ○ A particular kind of wine that would bring him to the pastoral South countryside ○ The seductions of giving up, of Thanatos (death) ○ Eros: everything that prompts us forward ○ Thanatos: everything that prompts us to give up ○ Keats is after a full retreat from his life and thoughts; the nightingale prompts him into finding this retreat ○ “fade” is a word used for transition from stanza 2 to 3. ○ Keats finds his solution is not through substance, but imagination ○ Pards are leopards, he’s saying no to bacchus which is wine ○ “On the viewless wings of Poesy” ○ He finds himself in the trees with the nightingale. ○ “The light is blown” through because he cannot see the moon - this shows intense precision ○ Stanza 5: Lovely things that follow are from A Midsummer Night’s Dream - fairy talk ○ Once again, a reminder: fairies were so in during this time. This is the world of imagination that Keats is going to. ○ Flies as an emblem of mortality ○ Darkling is a word that Keats creates ○ Stanza 6 is beautiful poetry about death, but it ends with the realization that if he were to die, he wouldn’t be able to hear the nightingale song anymore. The song of the nightingale would become a “requiem,” and Keats would “become a sod.” ○ Chinese emperor nightingale story 1. Emperor gets mechanical bird and lets real nightingale go 2. Fault of thing becomes translated to whole land: people start going into ruin 3. Everyone is supposed to find the real nightingale 4. When they find it, they never let it go, plague fixed, never let a real nightingale go. ○ Keats begins to imagine this nightingale as immortal 1. Maybe this nightingale sung for Ruth in “the alien corn” (you know, like, thousands of miles away and thousands of years ago) 2. Maybe this nightingale could charm open casements in faery lands ○ John Donne wrote a famous poem about the church bells tolling for the dead. ENGL 231: British Authors > 1800: Week 5 1. During this time period, people would stand listening to the church bells, wondering for whom the bell tolls (Donne says it tolls for “thee”) 2. Keats: “forlorn! the very word is like a bell/ To toll me back for thee to my sole self!” ○ The nightingale goes from singing a requiem to an anthem ○ The nightingale flies away, and you can still faintly hear it “In the next valley-glades” ○ Keats works through what it would be like to give in to Thanatos, and he decides that he wouldn’t want it.


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