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Keats and Hellenism: Revisiting Grecian Forms, Influence, and Questions of Belatedness in Keats's Sonnets and the Spring Odes

PARIS, ANNE-VIVIEN (2024) Keats and Hellenism: Revisiting Grecian Forms, Influence, and Questions of Belatedness in Keats's Sonnets and the Spring Odes. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Delving into the captivating world of John Keats – one of the most prominent figures of the Romantic era – this research examines his intricate relationship with Hellenism. We unravel the evolving nature of Keats's engagement with Hellenism, examining its manifestations through different temporal stages and varying poetic genres. Keats’s connection with Hellenism undergoes a nuanced examination and shifts away from a static portrayal to one that emphasises its evolving nature. This approach uncovers distinct features characterizing Keats's Hellenism throughout his poetic journey, spanning from sonnets to odes and across his early works to later compositions.

The concept of negative capability, famously coined by Keats himself, plays a crucial role in understanding his development of a unique approach to engaging with Hellenism. Primarily analysing Keats's poetical works reveals how negative capability serves as a key factor in shaping Keats's own form of Hellenism. It explores how his ability to embrace uncertainty and ambiguity enables him to enter a dialogue with the overpowering power of the dead poets, which Hellenism embodies. Furthermore, the interplay between temporality, negative capability, and beauty in Keats's Hellenism is studied. There is an intricate relationship that exists between these three elements, shedding light on how the exploration of beauty in Keats's poetry intertwines with his evolving understanding of Hellenism, ultimately shaping his poetic vision and aesthetic sensibilities. Despite being considered a belated poet of Ancient Greece, Keats has internalised his own inner Greek poet and used it to transform his works and imbue them with his own brand of Hellenism – a prophet of an age long past.

The thesis illuminates the dynamic evolution of Keats’s Hellenistic pursuits by discussing the multifaceted nature of Keats’s Hellenistic connection and the interplay of temporality, negative capability, and beauty. Ultimately, it offers fresh insights into the Romantic poet's genius, expanding our understanding of his profound engagement with the classical world and its enduring influence on his poetic legacy

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:John Keats, Hellenism, Romanticism, Negative Capability, Aesthetic Sensibilities, Classical Influence, Belatedness, Classical Antiquity, Poetic Dialogue, Keatsian Hellenism, Classical Tradition, Romantic Poets
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:06 Jun 2024 09:35

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