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The romantic era was a movement which consisted of artistic, literary, musical and intellectual pieces of art that lasted from 1770 till the 1850’s in most parts of Europe. This movement included pieces like “Fur Elise” by Ludwig Van Beethoven and “To Autumn” by John Keats, which are some of the most iconic pieces of literature ever made to this day. From Beethoven’s music getting orchestrated in the biggest halls around the world, to Keats poems and ballads getting read in every american and non-american classrooms around the world. So in this analysis, I will be analysing the life, literature pieces and post death effects of one of the staple artists of this era, which is John Keats.
John Keats was born October 31, 1795, in the far lands of London, England, into a family of two brothers, a sister, and married parents. Keats’s father passed away because of a trample accident, in which a horse trampled Keats father and killed him, causing a profound effect on Keats early life, shaping his understanding on suffering and loss. Right after Keats’s fathers death, his mother remarried almost immediately, which affected Keats mind dramatically. Furthermore, John Keats was basically passed around, from guardian to guardian, after his mothers death, till the turning point of his life, which was school, in which his passion for reading arose. John Keats became and apprentice for a surgeon at Edmonton in 1811, which was broken off to be a junior house surgeon in 1814 at London, in which he ultimately stayed at. This is where his literary interests grew and eventually decided to pursue his poetic dreams. From point A, which was his tough youth, to the migration from parent to guardian, to finally the stabilization in London, Keats came in full of experiences and ready to write.
Literary Romanticism are writing that emphasize on inspiration, subjectivity, and the individual himself, feelings etc, in which Keats nailed with his ballads and poems. For example, we have the iconic poem “To Autumn” which was written before his death,but rose in popularity after his death because of how he emersed people on what he was feeling before his death. Keats wrote this poem after a walk one autumnal evening. This poem basically is his surrender on how his writing never gave enough economic support, and talks mainly about his “fruitfulness” efforts in the artistic industry, said with quote “Season of mist and mellow fruitfulness”. This poem is a staple of the Romantic Era because of many reasons, which are that moments before his death, he wrote a brief 3 stanza poem marking the end of his poetic career, showing his emotions toward the romanticism movement happening at England at the time, and how his life shaped more than just his writings. And finally, Keats contracted tuberculosis later that same autumn which eventually killed him at the age of 25.
Another of Keats writings that shows what the romantic era was all about is the poem with the title of “Ode on Melancholy”, which was a poem discussing to treat his depression. Just a brief analysis on the poem, the first line, quote,”No, no, go not to lethe” (Greenblatt 981), can be broken down starting with the word “lethe” which is the name of the Greek spirit of “forgetfulness” and “Oblivion”, and in this poem, this word was used to express forgetfulness. Why? Because Keats wants the reader to not forget about our sadness. Which can go back to why Keats is a great representation of the Romantic Era, he embraces such a dark and horrible feeling, in the attempt of making him a stronger human being. He follows the next stanza with messages towards the speaker, which start with quote, “But when the melancholy fit shall fall” (Greenblatt 981), tells the reader that the person who is suffering should instead of suffer the person should implement positive, beautiful things into their lives, that eventually take down the negative ones. This poem continues and talks about alternative ways to cope with depression and speaks to the reader about his own personal experiences with sadness.
Most of Keats Odes have a big level of difference between them, for example, “Ode on Melancholy” is the first ode not written in first person, instead it is written in a way advising the reader on what to do if facing depression and such. “Ode on Melancholy” was a poem written as a result of his hard-owned experience, from the hardships of his early life to the experiences with love himself etc, which brings back to Keats being a great staple in the Romantic era.
John Keats lived through a lot, and he only passed away when he was 25, his experiences, and emotions put into paper will never be overseen, and now, the Romanticism movement was a huge step forward writers took back in England, in which Keats remarkably led in my opinion. He did not just write one of the most iconic pieces of literature ever written but created a trail if you will, inspiring writers to this day. Keats represented the Romantic era because of how he dedicated his life to the last seconds of his breaths to his craft, and most importantly, he never hid no aspect of what made him the man he grew to be back then. Keats contributed to the Romantic movement with collection of short letters and poems which were all thoughtful and impassioned. So finally, yes, John Keats did much more than just contribute to the movement, he revolutionized, and represented what the movement was truly about.
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