Negative Capability and John Keats

Negative Capability and John Keats: As a true romantic, Keats insists upon the neutrality of the poet. He believes that a poet must write without any prejudice and the ability to experience a phenomena free from the bounds of “theory of knowledge” or presupposed conceptions and beliefs.

Keats captures the beauty of Nature without being influenced by his prior knowledge. For example, autumn is considered the season of approaching gloom in the shape of winter but the poet is fascinated with the beauty of the rich and striking scenery about him and is forced to compose a poem on the beauty of autumn against prior and established knowledge.

Escapist views of John Keats:

All romantic poets are escapists in essence. They tend to shun reality in the favour of the ideal. They lose themselves into the realm of poetic fancy and imagination. For example in “Ode to Nightingale”, Keats overpowers the doubts of his mind and says to the nightingale:

“Away! away! for I will fly to thee”

The escapist idealism forces the poet to leave the painful realism and enter into ideal life of nightingale. The poet wants to disappear with the joyous nightingale. He wishes to “fade far away, dissolve and quite forget” the human miseries and pains; the nightingale has never tasted of such “weariness” and sings.

Further Reading to the Negative Capability and John Keats:

  1. Poetry
  2. John Keats as a Romantic Poet
  3. John Keats as a Poet

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