Criticism of John Keats
Keats (1795-1821), one of the greatest Romantic poets who is
often compared with Shakespeare due to his phrases charged
with a great intensity of imagination, was vehemently
criticized by John Gibson Lockhart
Magazine: ““The phrenzy
of the "Poems" was bad enough in its way; but it did
not alarm us half so seriously as the calm, settled,
imperturbable drivelling idiocy of Endymion.”
vituperative and utterly irreverent criticism was quite
unjustified. We should not forget that Keats
wrote some of the greatest odes, comparable to nothing
except Shakespeare’s greatest poetry . One example is the
concluding lines of Ode on a Grecian Urn"
is truth, truth beauty'
- that is all / you know on earth, and all ye need to
know". Keats is a Shakespearean poet due to his 'negative
Keats himself remarks about this 'negative
Several things dovetailed in my mind, and at once it struck
me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially
in Literature and which Shakespeare posessed so
enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is
capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without
any irritable reaching after fact & reason."
following lines by Keats leave no doubt that he submitted
himself steadily, persistently, unflinchingly to life:
melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more ...
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
fact is that Keats was more interested in sensations than
ideas. he is one of the rare poets who makes us realize the
oneness of Beauty and Truth. For him, the sense of Beauty
overcame any other consideration.
to several critics, this condemnation of his poetry
pained the poet so much that he died. We may always remember
that the soul of Keats was made of iron and flint. An
abusive article can never be the cause of the
death of a powerful poet like Keats.
Byron’s comment that Keats “ was snuffed out of an
article” is far from truth.
Santosh Kumar, Editor, Cyberwit.net