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Romanticism is an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated around the middle of the 18th century in Western Europe, and gained strength during the Industrial Revolution. It was partly a revolt against aristocratic, social, and political norms of the time and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature in art and literature. The movement stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on emotions.


1) A deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature 2) A general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect 3) A turning in upon the self and a heightened examination of human personality and its moods and mental potentialities 4) An emphasis upon imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth.


John Keats


October 31, 1795)

London, England

February 23, 1821 (aged 25) Died Rome, Papal States Occupation Poet Literary movement Romanticism

John Keats) was one of the principal poets of the English Romantic movement. He had a childhood which was full of troubles,his father died at a early age after which his mother Frances Jennings Keats remarried. In 1810, however, his mother died of tuberculosis, leaving him and his siblings in the custody of their grandmother. Keats' grandmother appointed two guardians to take care of her new "charges", and these guardians removed Keats from his old school to become a surgeon's apprentice. But shortly after this Keats left the medical profession and concentrated more on literature, it was during this time that he wrote Isabella, St. Agnes' Eve and Lamia. Parts of Hyperion and the five-act poetic tragedy Otho the Great.

But by now Keats found out that his younger brother Tom was suffering from tuberculosis. Finishing his epic poem "Endymion", Keats left to work in Scotland. However, he too began to show signs of tuberculosis infection on that trip, and returned prematurely. Tom's condition had deteriorated by then, and that Endymion had, as had Poems before it, been the target of much abuse from the critics. Following the death of his brother Keats left his house and started living with his friend Charles Brown, here he fell in love with Fanny (his neighbor). This relationship was cut short when, by 1820, Keats began showing worse signs of the disease that had plagued his family. He left for Italy to regain his health but nothing worked. He died in 1821 at the young age of 26.


During his short life, his work received constant critical attacks from the periodicals of the day. Most of his major poems were written between his twenty-third and twenty-fourth years as several major events have been noted as factors in this increased productivity: namely, the death of his brother Tom, the critical reviews of Endymion, and his meeting of Fanny Brown. The famous odes he produced during the spring and summer of 1819 include: Ode to Psyche, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on Melancholy, and To Autumn

His genius was not generally perceived during his lifetime. But with the twentieth century, the perception of Keats's poetry expanded; he was and is praised for his seriousness and thoughtfulness, for his dealing with difficult human conflicts and artistic issues and hence Keats became an immortal figure in the history of English literature.

Themes in Keats's Major Poems

Generally "Keats's important poems are related to, or grow directly out of...inner conflicts." For example, pain and pleasure are intertwined in "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; love is intertwined with pain, and pleasure is intertwined with death in "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," "The Eve of St. Agnes," and "Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil."

Other conflicts appear in Keats's poetry: sensation or passion / enduring art dream or vision / reality transient joy / melancholy the ideal / the real mortal / immortal life / death separation / connection being immersed in passion / desiring to escape passion

Keats often associated love and pain both in his life and in his poetry. Identity is an issue in his view of the poet and for the dreamers in his odes and narrative poems.


HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POEM: It was written in May, 1819, in the garden of the Inn, According to Keats' friend, Charles Armitage Brown, a nightingale had built its nest near his home in the spring of 1819. Keats felt a "tranquil and continual joy in her song; and one morning he took his chair from the breakfast table to the grass plot under a plum tree, where he sat for two of three hours. But this account is often rejected by many critics.

THEME AND EXPLANATION OF THE POEM: Ode to A Nightingale" is a poem in which Keats uses detailed description to contrast natural beauty and reality, life and death. In the opening verse, the writer becomes captivated by the nightingale's peaceful song. Throughout, the song becomes a powerful spell that transcends the mortal world of Keats. Interwoven throughout the poem are his thoughts about death.

The poet opens with a declaration of his own heartache. He feels numb, as though he had taken a drug only a moment ago. He is addressing a nightingale he hears singing somewhere in the forest and says that his "drowsy numbness" is not from envy of the nightingale's happiness, but rather from sharing it too completely; he is "too happy" that the nightingale sings the music of summer from amid some unseen plot of green trees and shadows. In the second stanza, the speaker, express his wish for wine, "a draught of vintage," that would taste like the country and like peasant dances, and let him "leave the world unseen" and disappear into the dim forest with the nightingale.

Further, he explains his desire to fade away, saying he would like to forget the troubles the nightingale has never known: "the weariness, the fever, and the fret" of human life, with its consciousness that everything is mortal and nothing lasts. Youth "grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies," and "beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes." In the fourth stanza, the speaker tells the nightingale to fly away, and he will follow, not through alcohol ("Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards"), but through poetry, which will give him "viewless wings." He says he is already with the nightingale and describes the forest glade, where even the moonlight is hidden by the trees, except the light that breaks through when the breezes blow the branches. Keats,describes an atmosphere full of soft incense and the coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine (42, 49).As he depicts the scene, he expresses his longing to free himself from the world of change and painlessly disappear.

In the seventh stanza, the speaker tells the nightingale that it is immortal, that it was not "born for death." He says that the voice he hears singing has always been heard, by ancient emperors and clowns, by homesick Ruth. . The ecstatic music even encourages the speaker to embrace the idea of dying, of painlessly succumbing to death while enraptured by the nightingale's music and never experiencing any further pain or disappointment. But when his meditation causes him to utter the word "forlorn," he comes back to himself, recognizing his fancy for what it is--an imagined escape from the inescapable ("Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well / As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf"). As the nightingale flies away, the intensity of the speaker's experience has left him shaken, unable to remember whether he is awake or asleep.


Keats' relationship with the bird clearly changes as the text progresses and his consciousness drifts downward into a dreaming, imaginative space. In the first stanza, Keats refers to it with awe, using phrases like "Lightwinged Dryad of the trees," but by the seventh stanza refers to it simply as "bird." Indeed, in the final stanza Keats addresses the animal as "deceiving elf," implying irritation at the nightingale's hypnotic song for the effect it had on him. Similarly his views about the Nightingale's song change as the poem progresses, descriptions of it being a 'high requiem' giving way to "plaintive anthem" in the final stanza


Keats repeatedly combines different senses in one image, that is, he attributes the trait(s) of one sense to another, a practice called synaesthesia. Examples of Synaesthetic Images In some MELODIOUS plot / Of BEECHEN GREEN (stanza I)Combines sound ("melodious") and sight ("beechen green") TASTING of Flora and the country green, Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth! O for a beaker of the warm South, (stanza II) Here the poet TASTES the visual ("Flora and the country green"), activity ("Dance"), sound ("Provencal song"), and mood or pleasure ("mirth"); also the visual ("sunburnt") is combined with a pleasurable emotional state ("mirth"). With the beaker there is finally something to taste, but what is being tasted is temperature ("warm") and a location ("South").

But here is no LIGHT, Save what from heaven is with the BREEZES BLOWN (stanza IV) Combines sight ("light") with touch/movement ("breezes blown"). This image describes light filtering through leaves moved by the wind. Nor what SOFT INCENSE HANGS upon the boughs (stanza V) Combines touch ("soft"), weight ("hangs"), and smell ("incense).


WHAT IS AN ODE ? IT is, an elaborately formal lyric poem, often in the form of a lengthy ceremonious address to a person or abstract entity, always serious and elevated in tone. There are two different classical models Pindar's Greek choral odes devoted to public praise of athletes, and Horace's more privately reflective odes in Latin. Odes in which the same form of stanza is repeated regularly are called Horatian odes: in English, these include the celebrated odes of John Keats, notably Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale. ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE is written in eight stanzas of ten lines each. In Ode to a Nightingale, the first seven and last two lines of each stanza are written in iambic pentameter. Conversely, the eighth line of each stanza is written in trimeter, giving it only three accented syllables instead of the five seen in the other lines of each stanza. has a consistent rhyme scheme of ababcdecde.( A unit of rhythm or meter; the division in verse of a group of syllables, one of which is long or accented. IAMBIC).

Therefore throughout the presentation we saw the origin of romanticism. Keats contribution to it. The life of Keats and the events which were significant, which inspired him. The basic themes involved in all his works and then the analysis of ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE-its theme and the contrasts involved in it.