O.Wilde, Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

The artist is the creator of beautiful things. (...)
Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.
Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope.
They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. (...)

No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything. (...)
All art is at once surface and symbol. Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril.
It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.
Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree the artist is in accord with himself...

O. Wilde (1854-1900),
Preface to 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

John Keats, life

his life

        John Keats was born in London on 31stOctober 1795. When he was 8 years old, he entered John Clarke’s school at Enfield.
His father died only a year later and his mother remarried. Unfortunately she died from tuberculosis in March 1810, when he was nearly 15.
Soon he left Enfield School and went to work as an apprentice apothecary at Edmonton.
In 1815, when he was 20, he entered a hospital in London as a medical student.
In 1816 his first published poem ‘O Solitude’ appears in ‘The Examiner’. In the same year he qualified as an apothecary, but gave up medicine for poetry. He wrote his first great poem, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ and made many new friends in the literary and artistic world.
In 1817, at 22, Keats’s first volume, Poems, was published. He moved to Hampstead with his brothers Tom and George and began his long poem Endymion.
A year later this poem was published and his brother George emigrated to America.
In the summer he went to the Lake District and to Scotland with his friend Charles Armitage Brown.
At the end of that year his brother Tom died of tuberculosis. He went to live in Wentworth Place, owned by Charles Brown,  and there he met Fanny Brawne.
1819 was Keats’s most creative year. He wrote ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, La Belle Dame sans Merci’, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’, ‘Ode to Melancholy’, ‘Hyperion’, ‘Lamia’ and ‘To Autumn’. He became engaged to Fanny.
At the beginning of 1820 Keats had a bad haemorrhage and his health started to decline rapidly. Some of his works were published in July and in September. Being so ill, he decided to leave England for Italy, accompanied by Joseph Severn (1793 – 1879, English portrait and subject painter).
Because of his illness, Keats and Fanny decided to postpone their marriage to a better time. Just before Keats’s departure to Italy he and Fanny exchanged locks of hair and gifts. They used to write each other letters, but in the end Keats couldn’t read the ones he received and some of them were never opened.
Keats and Severn  arrived in Naples in October and in November reached Rome. By this time Keats was already desperately ill with tuberculosis. His Scottish doctor in Rome found him and his companion a flat in which they were to spend the next four months and where Keats was to die on 23rd February 1821. The rooms were on the second floor of a house in the foreigners’ quarters of Piazza di Spagna, just beside the famous Scalinata (Spanish Steps) leading up to the church of Trinità dei Monti. Soon after his arrival in Rome, Keats was able to walk out a little, walking and even riding in the neighbourhood, but in December he suffered a dramatic relapse and was compelled to stay in his flat. Until Keats became too ill to leave his bed, the view from his window was a constant distraction and delight: he could see Pietro Bernini’s marble boat-shaped fountain and the continuous activity on the steps outside.
He was buried in the non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome. News of his death reached England only in March. Fanny’s unopened letters (along with those of Keats’s sister named Fanny, too) were buried with him.
Severn had been an incredibly devoted friend and nurse throughout Keats’s illness. He died in Rome at the age of 86 and he is buried in the Non-Catholic Cemetery, alongside Keats.

         John Keats was the last born of the English Romantic poets and, at 25, the youngest to die. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement.
At the time of his death, Keats was quite unknown and his poems were not generally well received by critics. He was only to become famous after his death when his reputation grew and he held significant posthumous influence on many later poets, such as Alfred Tennyson. Keats himself predicted this by saying: ‘I think I shall be among the English poets after my death’.
John Keats’s s poetry is characterised by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. Today his poems and letters are considered as among the most popular and analysed in English literature.

No comments:

Post a Comment