Ezra Pound Poetic & Literary View

ezra-pound2Pound calls for knowledge of the human nature of man, since,”it is obvious that ethics are based on the nature of man, just as it is obvious that civics are based upon the nature of man when living together in groups”. This necessary knowledge can only be supplied by the arts especially by poetry, which in consequence are given the status of an anthropology distinct from the other sciences. Pound’s idea of the basic function of poetry, is that poetry provides an objective “study on man”.

Pound’s Poetics:
Pound constantly preaches an “historical sense”, the consciousness of the past as a part of the poet’s necessary equipment, and a preliminary preoccupation with the literary landmarks.

According to Ezra Pound, there exists absolute standards by which poetry can be evaluated and that basically the same kind of “good” and “bad” poetry can be encountered in all ages. For Pound too, good poetry is always the same, the changes are superficial. We have the real poem in nature. The real poem in nature. The real poet thinking the real poem absorbs the decor almost unconsciously.

Poetry for Pound is sometimes looked upon as verbal expression composed according to certain pre established sets of rules and sometimes as verbal expressions shaped according to forces inherent in the material of poetry, and the two following quotations mark the two poles around which Pound’s conception of poetry has crystallized.

“Poetry is an art, an art with a technique with media” and “poetry is the statement of overwhelming emotional values; all the rest is an affair of cuisine, of art” “I think the artist should master all known forms and systems of metric.”

Pound is from the beginning conscious of the impact of this dualism, he says:”I think there is a “fluid” as well as a “solid” content, that some poems may form as a tree may has form, some as water poured into a vase.

In Pound poetics there are two conceptions: The conception of the “normative” form; and that of the “organic” form these two forms, Pound claims coexist all along, and neither of them is given precedence. The conception of poetry as a vase can as such of course be affiliated to all the “normative” treasures of prescribing the composition of poetry in accordance with the preexisting rules. As to the “organic” form, it counts on the expressive force of emotions.

Pound’s “formulation of the basic principles of modern poetry” is postulated as “objectivity, and again objectivity”, the poet’s desirable readiness “to say what to say, and to shut up when he has said it.” So Pound has formulated this principle as:”The artist seeks out the luminous detail and presents it. He doesn’t comment.” Here stands the principle of impassibilite (which is adopted from Flaubert), which necessitates a dualism between the poet as creator and the other activities of his personality, excluding emotions together with intellectual and moral reflections. The very first of the Imagist principles read:”Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective.”eGJ4bXN1MTI=_o_the-river-merchants-wife-a-letter---ezra-pound

The influences on Pound:
More closely and more constantly than with anything else Pound coupled the formulation of his basic poetics with the literary principles and practice of Gustave Flaubert, the most devoted and persistent of craftsmen, “le Christ de la literature”: Imagism “set out ‘to bring poetry up to the level of prose’ since Flaubert lifted prose to the rank of a ‘finer art’.”

Ford Madox Hueffer had once announced:”I had to make for myself the discovery that the verse must be at least as well written as prose if it is to be poetry. Its sentences must be as well constructed; its thought as close; its language as nervous. Both Heuffer and Pound have adopted such an attitude.

Pound’s Images:
According to Pound, “An ‘Image’ is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time”.

The image is distinct from the-often arbitrarily used-metaphoric expression, which is intended as either an ornament, or as an explanatory reinforcement of what has been said in a discursive manner. Pound is quite explicit:”The point of Imagism is that it does not use image as ornaments. The ornamental metaphor and simile belong to the same category as the ‘superfluous’ ornamental epithet and is condemned by Pound. Pound is sufficiently cautious to remark that it is “hard to draw an exact border line” between the image and the “explanatory metaphor”, and one is not sure whether Pound has any consistent ideas in which cases the difference is qualitative or merely quantitative.

The image cannot be dispensed with, not because it adds to the beauty, the meaning, the effectiveness of poetry, but because in an Imagist poem there is no communication at all without the image:”The image is itself the speech.”

“The image can be of two sorts (always according to Pound). It can arise within the mind. It is then subjective.” External causes play upon the mind, perhaps; if so they are drawn into, fused, transmitted, and emerge in an Image unlike themselves. Secondly, the Image can be objective. Emotion seizing upon some external scene or action carries it intact to the mind; and that vortex purges it of all save the essential and dominant or dramatic qualities, and it emerges like the external original.”

The image is consistently presented by Pound as a direct emanation of the emotion or the “emotional force”- “the emotional force gives the image.”

The very considerable difference between Imagism and Symbolism lies in the manner and the proportion in which the various elements of poetry are used: the poetry of the great Symbolists was generally speaking, despite extensive use of visual symbols, above all concerned with the musical property of the words, Verlaine’s “De la musique avant tout chose” has become commonplace. The Imagists concentrated their efforts on the visual: in terms of Pound’s subsequently established categories, (the Symbolists were aiming at melopoeia, the Imagists at phanopoeia).

On Verse Libre:
On this issue, Pound says:”Unlike a man can put some thematic invention into verse libre, he would do well to stick to ‘regular’ meters which have certain chances of being musical from their form.” As a conclusion Pound leaves the poet in a position to choose between the ‘normative’ and the ‘organic’, and this position is characteristic of Pound’s poetic altogether:”I have never claimed that verse libre was the only path to salvation. I felt that it was right and that it had its place with the other models.”

Advertisements

Andrew Marvell’s “The Definition of Love”: An Analytical & Critical Overview

coyMy love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing
Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown,
But vainly flapp’d its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixt,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.

For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close;
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrannic pow’r depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant poles have plac’d,
(Though love’s whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac’d;

Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramp’d into a planisphere.

As lines, so loves oblique may well
Themselves in every angle greet;
But ours so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.

Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.

Andrew Marvell – The Definition Of Love – Video Dailymotion.

Before we start our discussion about this poem, let us have a quick overview on the concept of the Metaphysical poetry. Metaphysical deals with new reality. The new discoveries that had been taking place in the 19th century. Thus, this poetry deals with the reality not with metaphysics, for we do not see any abstraction in this poetry and in most of the cases this poetry is not referential.

In “The Definition of Love”, Marvell has spiritualized love. This poem describes the character of the poet’s love for his beloved. This love, says the poet is perfect and therefore unattainable. This love is divine, but for that very reason hopeless. Perfect love of this kind is most unwelcome to Fate who therefore never permits the union of perfect lovers. This kind of perfect love can mean only a spiritual union but never a physical one. This love is “the conjunction of the mind and opposition of the mind and opposition of the stars”.

The poet begins with the three dimensional allegorical figures: Despair, Hope and Fate that control love of the whole world. The poem begins with the highly intellectual conceit. And at the beginning of this poem the poet says that the love of the poet has a rare parentage: and its aim is exceptionally strange and sublime. His love, the poet says, is the offspring of Despair and impossibility. Here he says:

“My Love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for abject strange and high:
It was begotten by despair
Upon Impossibility”

It was so divine a thing as his love. The poet goes on to say that Fate grows jealous of two perfect lovers:
“But fate does Iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.”

When we read this poem, we find that the clarity is not there; there is deviation from the decorum, and the conception is not familiar. In this kind of poetry you have to be at least of new area of poetry initiated by the poet. Those poets did use conceits. Most of the words or imagery is the idea where the thought and feeling are one. There is an image when there is a fusion between the thought and feeling. John Donne: in one of his poems says separate could not take place between him and his beloved.

The experience of this poem is one; it is an experience of love. Outside the poem the experience of love could be either simple or complex. Definitely, from the point of view of a good reader the poet must be at ease in order to tackle in the poem his experience. If the poet is truly in love, he wouldn’t have written this poem because he is conceiving this experience from an architectural point of view. In architecture you could look on different aspects of the object. The object is one but the facts are many. The poet is at ease when he is writing the poem. The poet is not suffering for the reasons that will come. If he was suffering he couldn’t write this work of art. This kind of poetry proves that poetry could be written outside the range of suffering. Suffering would be the material of the poem but not the product of it.

In part 1, there is no point of departure and arrival in the poem. The poem is tackling one simple experience of love. Fate is against him. The way he is expressing his words proves that he is not suffering.

In part 2 despair is never magnanimous; he is after paradox once more. This proves that there is a formula that prevails throughout the poem. Although the experience is one, there is complexity in the relationship between himself and his beloved. Therefore, he is using many images for the same experience.

In part 3 fate is like an iron wedge which separates us in between myself and my beloved. He must be cool to say that fate is against us. Otherwise he would have been meditative. He is playing with words. So we could conclude that the poem is moving through a formula (thesis & antithesis). They could be united but fate is against them; this formula prevails throughout the entire poem which explains on the structural level the usage of the paradoxes. So, he created a paradox and enlarged the love experience through it. In a paradox there is some sort of oppositions by which the range of experience in the poem is extended. If he is expressing a personal experience, he would not need 32 lines to write the poem. What he is saying is one thing but extended through this formula. He is not expressing a personal experience, but he is writing a poetic experience. Therefore, he is exploiting a new area of poetry which is initiated by John Donne.

In part 4 he is moving systematically throughout the same formula. If fate is strong, they will be separated; and if they unite, fate will be ruined.

In part5 “Her” refers to fate. Thus, there is a decrees that cannot be broken. It does not permit their union because the union of two lovers would mean the ruin the power of Fate. Fate has placed these two lovers as far apart from each other as the North Pole and the South Pole are from each other. The love of the poet and his beloved are however like parallel lines which can never meet. Finally the poet describes the love between his and mistress as the conjunction of the mind and opposition of the stars. He is complicating the experience because he is resorting to an area outside the poem. He is doing this on purpose, intentional ambiguity. The imagery is borrowed from outside the poem. “Decrees of steel” can’t be broken: between the north pole and the south pole there is an axis on which the world does rotate; the axis couldn’t be broken because it is made of steel. In addition, they can’t be embraced but the entire world does exist. The relationship can’t be broken the two entity are opposite. It is true also around this axis the world does rotate. The experience in itself is simple. He is creating complexity by using an area beyond the range of poetry. He is borrowing imagery from outside the poem. Thus, he is enlarging our sensitivity. There is unity in his feelings. The idea and imagery are the body of his poem, so you have to respond emotionally before thinking.

Thus the whole poem is a kind of logically developed argument. The whole poem is characterized by Metaphysical wit. Fate also plays an important role in this poem. However, in this poem we find the touch of Platonic love where spirit, soul and mind dominate the theme.

Thus, from the above discussion we can say that the attitude and mood of Marvell in this poem “The Definition of Love”, is full of gloom and frustrations as the lover is painfully aware of the impossibility of his union with of the beloved.

 

Renaissance Era: Edmund Spenser’s the “Amoretti” & “Epithalamion” (Sonnets 58 through 85)

THE ‘AMORETTI’

These were printed in one volume in 1595. It is unlikely that all the sonnets of Amoretti were written at one time, or that all were originally addressed to Elizabeth Boyle, whose marriage to Spenser is celebrated in the Epithalamion. It is possible that the form of the volume, which presents a sonnet sequence dealing with the vicissitudes of a courtship, crowned by a marriage-ode, is accidental: a pleasing fancy of the publisher, William Ponsonby. If so, he had an original mind: this is the only example of a sonnet sequence in English leading to such a conclusion. It seems more likely that Spenser collected existing sonnets, adding to their number with such an arrangement in mind. This would be in keeping with his conception of love, as creative and fruitful both physically and spiritually, and marriage, as sacramentally presenting this fulfillment. The figure of Charissa (Charity-Faerie Queene I, 10), and the quest of Britomart which is to end in marriage, present the same essential image.

Amoretti is a sonnet-cycle tracing the suitor’s long courtship and eventual wooing of his beloved. The work begins with two sonnets in which the speaker addresses his own poetry, attempting to invest his words with the power to achieve his goal (the wooing of Elizabeth Boyle). From the third sonnet through the sixty-second sonnet, the speaker is in an almost constant state of emotional turmoil and frustrated hopes. His beloved refuses to look favorably upon his suit, so his reaction ranges from despairing self-deprecation to angry tirade against her stubbornness. Most often the speaker dwells upon his beloved’s beauty, both inner and outer, and the overpowering effects this beauty has upon him. He uses a variety of motifs to explicate his feelings and thoughts toward the subject of his ardor: predator and prey, wartime victor and captive, fire and ice, and hard substances that eventually soften over long periods of time. Each of these is intended to convey some aspect of his beloved’s character or his own fears and apprehensions.His use of sonnets written in praise of other beauties would be in keeping with this Platonic conception of Love, for in Elizabeth Boyle he saw a closer approximation to the Idea of Beauty itself than in all other women: all praise given to them was by right indirectly hers. As Donne says in The Good Morrow: 

                                    But this, all pleasures fancies be,

                                    If ever any beauty I did see

                              Which I desired and got, ’twas but a dream of thee. 

Spenser is in fact putting his earlier work to its proper purpose, now revealed to him in the beauty of his beloved.

The sonnets are in Spenser’s own rhyme scheme, which appears occasionally elsewhere in his work: a strict variation of the ‘Shakespearean’ form (abab/bcbc/cdcd/ee). The sequence is made up of eighty-nine sonnets, with three lyric pieces at the end.

The sonnets themselves express the moods of the courtship at different stages. There is a definite progression from distant adoration to the intimacies of mutual and accepted love, with adoration to the intimacies of mutual and accepted love, with various vicissitudes on the way. The subject of the sonnets is love for a woman whose beauty and virtue show their divine origin. They deal not so much with this human revelation of beauty, as with the lover’s reaction to it. Each sonnet presents a point of view, a part of the whole subject. The presentation of the actual, personal relationship is disciplined at every point by the appropriate conventions of thought and expression. (Spenser owes much to other writers, notably Desportes and Tasso, as well as Petrarch.)

This magnificent sequence is far too complex in its detail to examine closely, but certain points may be noted. The progress of the courtship’s, like Colin’s love in The Shepheardes Calendar, linked to the passing of the seasons. At the opening it is spring: 

Then you faire flower, in whom fresh youth doth rain, 

Prepare your self new loud to entertain.   Amoretti IV

Again, the penitential season of Lent has its parallel in the devotions of the lover: 

therefore, I likewise on so holy day,

for my sweet Saynt some seruice fit will find.

In the sixtieth sonnet he says his courtship has now lasted a year, and in the sixty-second hopes that the passing of winter may bring him grace: 

So likewise loue cheare you your heavy spright,

and change old years annoy to new delight.

This year it is not Lent but Easter which suggests a more direct plea (this sonnet is often-disastrously-sung as a hymn):

So let vs loue, dearer loue, lyke as we ought, 

loue is the lesson which the Lord vs taught.

Such an application of religion to love is not blasphemous: his love and service to his ‘saint’ is inspired by what is divine in her: it is not a distraction from his adoration of his Creator, but and aid to it. 

The sequence ends on a minor tone, and the imagery is autumnal. Spenser laments his love’s absence, ‘Lyke as the Culuer on the bared bough’ (LXXXIX). This melancholy conclusion, to be reversed by the triumph of the Epithalamion, perhaps an effect of the convention by which sonnet sequences end, for the most part, either in rejection and despair, or as in Petrarch’s case, with the loss of the beloved through death: at least the loss of her physical presence. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the courtship is Spenser’s approach to his beloved. At first, he adores her from afar, overawed by her beauty and right pride. He is her servant, not her equal. It is through his power, as a poet, to immortalize her transient manifestation of eternal beauty, that he attains her level: 

Faire be no lender proud of that shall perish, 

but that which shal you make immortall, cherish.  XXVII

This recalls the end of the Epithalamion, when he bids his song: 

Be veto her a goodly ornament, 

And for short time an endlesse moniment. 

The three lyrics at the end of the Amoretti provide a transition to the triumphant joy of the Epithalamion. They are slight, witty exercises, on the theme of Cupid’s arrows, and recall the March Eclogue.

‘EPITHALAMION’

The Epithalamion is an ode written to commemorate the nuptials of the speaker and his bride. The song begins before dawn and progresses through the wedding ceremony and into the consummation night of the newlywed couple. It is without doubt the most glorious celebration of marriage in English. It is written within an established genre, for which there are many models in classical antiquity, notably in the work of Catullus and Theocritus. Spenser would also have been familiar with examples in French. Of all the traditions available to him he makes full use. It is interesting to compare this poem with the various epithalamia of other writers of the period, especially Herrick and Donne, a little later.

Spenser’s inventive genius for devising verse forms here reaches its supreme triumph. He has developed a verse of eighteen lines, with the most complex orchestration of rhyme, and varying line lengths, and a refrain- ‘The woods shall to me answer and my Eccho ring’- subtly altered as the poem proceeds, tracing the progress of the wedding-day from dawn to night.

Spenser’s love for the Irish countryside is clear through his vivid descriptions of the natural world surrounding the couple, while his political views regarding English supremacy is hinted at in the relationship between the bride and groom themselves.

Other critics have seen Spenser’s gift to his bride not simply as a celebration of their wedding day, but a poetic argument for the kind of husband-wife relationship he expects the two of them to have.

 

Analysis of Sonnets 58 to 85:

This set of sonnets continues to express and explore the ongoing struggle of the speaker in dealing with an unresponsive beloved. He reiterates previous motifs, such as the battle and the contrast of fire and ice. He also introduces another motif of analogies: predator and prey. The beloved is the hunting beast, ferocious and bloody, while the suitor is her prey, helpless and–in one case–submissive to her attack. He knows he will be devoured; he wants only to stay the pain in favor of a quick kill. Continue Reading: Renaissance Era: Edmund Spenser’s the “Amoretti” & “Epithalamion” (Sonnets 58 through 85)

The Development of the Form of the English Sonnets

The Sonnet has become English because of the contribution of many poets. Discuss.

English: Portrait of Francesco Petrarca (1304-...

English: Portrait of Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), Italian poet and humanist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Critics agree that the form of sonnets was invented in Italy and initiated merely by the Italian sonnet Petrarch. Petrarch wrote his sonnets in English. As in novels at the beginning of the 18th century that were immature, unsophisticated and not well developed until the end of the 18th century, so were sonnets. Petrarch’s sonnets in the 14th century can be considered as the first step in the evolution of sonnets. His language was somehow loose, his meanings vague and his themes simple. He dealt with simple issues concerning love, friendship, loyalty and some moral issues. He criticized his society and its demerits. He did not deal with critical, sensitive or controversial themes, this is why he chose a simple patterned rhyme scheme that was suitable for him to introduce his poetry. The sonnet is a form of a poem, but it is more restricted and sophisticated. It should be 14 lines, written in iambic meters and have rhymed line endings that rhyme in alternate with proceeding lines to suit his themes that did not emerge problems, and hence needed no solutions. Petrarch used the octave (8 lines) and sestet (6 lines) form. The octave rhymed abba abba and the sestet rhymed cde cde. He intentionally avoided the couplet form that suggested an end or a conclusion form because he did not ask a question in his sonnet that needed an answer nor did he suggest a problem in correspondence of a solution. He only criticized some demerits in his society or wrote about his feelings and emotions. The second stage of the evolution of sonnets was dedicated to the English Sonneteer Wyatt that brought the sonnet form into English and stated writing in it. Thus, the old form could not suit his ideas, so he modified it still using an octave and a sestet but the sestet reads then cdd cee. He, too, avoided reaching the couplet form because his themes too lacked sublimity and cruciality. He dealt with emotional topics avoiding controversial or universal ones, but he is remembered for being the first to modify a sonnet form and thus contributing to the progression of sonnets.

 

English: Title page of Shakespeare's Sonnets (...

English: Title page of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (1609) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Now we can say that the highest point of evolution of sonnets was reached by Sir William Shakespeare. He introduced a totally different tract for dealing with and comprehending the sonnets. Now the themes have become in their utmost seriousness. New issues emerge, new analogies have to be dealt with. To him, the old themes were superficial, this is why he introduced new ones. The old rhyme schemes can no more comply to his themes. He was in need of a more developed pattern that is ductile. His themes, unlike the formers, should have then a conclusion at the end because he always reached at the end a situation totally different from that at the beginning of the sonnet, something happens to him and then his situation changes and becomes happy. The melancholy is introduced in the first stanza; the thing that changes his situation is introduced in the second and third stanza, and then his final situation is introduced in the last 13th and 14th lines, that are the concluding lines. This is why he was in need of modifying the former pattern to apply to him. Therefore, what is better for a conclusion than a couplet. Furthermore, the above pattern should totally be modified to be abab cdcd efef gg. This form was the best applicable to Shakespeare and the resulting sonnets still gather our attention till now. No doubt that this man did much to English literature and more precise to English sonnets.

He was the most famous sonneteer of his time (Elizabethan Age) and the later ages. His sonnet had universal themes that could not be attributed to one specific time or place. He wrote many famous plays, but still he was remembered for his sonnets. He was intelligent and knew that his themes could not be introduced in Petrarch’s pattern or Wyatt’s. Shakespeare wrote each line in iambic pentameter and the last words rhymed with an alternating line-ending word, for instance, the first line rhymed with the third-the second with the fourth-the fifth with the seventh-the sixth with the eighth etc. The last 2 lines (line 13 and 14) were rhymed like each other because they are the concluding lines. Unlike Petrarch and Wyatt who avoided completely reaching a conclusion and therefore a couplet form. Shakespeare was urged to reach a conclusion because the themes that he dealt with always with no failure must at the end show a change of state.

He modified the octave and sestet form initially used by Petrarch and Wyatt to 3 stanzas each being a quatrain (of 4 lines) and then a couplet.

Shakespeare’s concern was immortality, poetry and friendship. He wrote 154 sonnets that are divided into 3 categories: immortality of poetry, his love for his friend, and his love for a woman. These topics are familiar direct, easy, simple and vivid.

The third sonneteer that contributed to the progression of English sonnets was Sidney. He was skillful and introduced new techniques. His writings were elegant, strictly to the point. He avoided figurative language and was perfect in writing a smooth, vivid poetry that lacked detailing. He criticized those poets that imitate other poets and advised them to write in their own ways or else they would be stealing other’s techniques. The form of Wyatt did not suit his, so he modified the sestet to be ccd eed keeping the octave as it is. His poetry took 2 tracts: His beloved Stella whom he wrote to and to poetry.

Keats “Ode On A Grecian Urn”: Analytical View

To Keats, the Urn stands in a special sacred relation to a special kind of existence and keeps this relation immaculate and intact. The Urn is a concrete symbol of some vast reality which can be reached only through a knowledge of individual objects which share and reflect its character.

W. J. Neatby - Keats - Isabella

W. J. Neatby – Keats – Isabella (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are, Keats says, beyond the reach of fate, somethings which deserve a religious respect and devotion and belong to the essential elements of the world. These things are “silent as a consecrated urn.” They do not speak directly to us, but, like an urn, have a message which we feel to be holy. There are times marked in the natural order of the universe when these powers keep state, and it is then that we must get into touch with them and see what they have to reveal.

His ideal world was not a scheme of abstractions but of a source of living powers beyond the senses, and therefore silent, but more real than the most entrancing gifts of the senses through the devotion which it commands and the assurance with which he believes that it endures forever. Great art can’t but suggest something beyond its immediate or even its remoter meanings, an indefinable “other”, which is the most important thing it has to give. In our apprehension and enjoyment of this, we almost forget the details of an actual work of art and pass beyond them into a state which may be called silence because it speaks not to the ear but to the spirit. If we feel this in reading poetry, we can imagine how much more keenly Keats felt it in writing. In his inspired moments of composition, he sought to give expression in audible and musical words to that other indefinite and yet more powerful music which makes what it is.

Keats notion of silence is combined with his notion of time which indeed receives fuller attention, as if it were even more important, and so perhaps it is. The paradox of all art is that it gives permanence to fleeting moments and fixes them in an unchanging form. Thus, with this idea Keats is in part concerned and his ideal Urn embodies it. Preserved and sanctified by time, it keeps its original freshness and appeal nor is its permanence cold and inhuman. The work of art has its own life which is more vivid than the actual life on which Keats touches in the third stanza. The paradox of the Urn, as of all true works of art, is that it transcends time by making a single moment last forever and so become timeless  but not due to the material in which the artist works. The timelessness of his achievement is a true reflection of something known to artists when they work at the highest pitch of inspiration. In the act of creation, when all faculties are harmoniously at work together, time does not so much stand still as vanish. The artist is not conscious of it because he is caught in an activity so absorbing that it is complete in itself, with no sense of before and after.

English: John Keats by Joseph Severn 1819. Oil...

English: John Keats by Joseph Severn 1819. Oil on ivory miniature, 105×79 mm Deutsch: John Keats, gemalt von Joseph Severn, 1819 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keats expresses his willingness to leave his own special approach to experience through the imagination for something like philosophy and his refusal is based on the belief that the mystery of things can’t be mastered by an act of will but forces us “out of thought,” that is, from ordinary ways of thinking into the approach of the imagination. By thought he means the discursive, puzzled, analytical activity of the intellect. Keats was concerned with the relations of truth and beauty, and how he developed his own theory about them. This theory maybe expressed in something like the following form: Truth is another name for ultimate reality, and is discovered not by the reasoning mind but by the imagination. The imagination has a special insight into the true nature of things, and Keats accepts its discoveries because they agree with his senses, resolve disagreeable discords, and overwhelm him by their intensity. He is convinced that anything so discovered is true in a sense that the conclusions of philosophy are not. Keats calls this reality “beauty” because of its over powering and all-absorbing effect on him. In fact, he substitutes the discovery of beauty through the image (the discovery of facts through reason), and asserts that it is a more satisfactory and more certain way of piercing to the heart of things, since inspired insight sees more than abstract ratiocination ever can. Keats concern is with the imagination in a special sense, and he is not far from Coleridge in his view of it. For him it does much more than imagine in the ordinary sense; it is an insight so fine that it sees what is concealed from most men and understands things in their full range and significance and characteristic of the rational of poetry is that through the imagination it finds something so compelling in its intensity that it is at once both beautiful and real.

It is a theory of art, a doctrine intended to explain his own creative experience. He was increasingly conscious that art is not everything, and in his last two years he became more uneasy about the detachment from life which his work imposed on him. The belief that “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” is true for the artist while he is concerned with his art. It is no less true that, while he is at work, this is all that he knows for certain, and all that he needs to know for the proper pursuit of his special task. Unless he believes this, he is in danger of ruining his art. The “Ode on a Grecian Urn” tells what great art means to those who create it, while they create it, and, so long as this doctrine is not applied beyond its proper confines, it is not only clear but true.

Truth is discovered by the imagination which makes man aware of the nature of things. Beauty can’t be found in our world because it only exists in the world of truth. Imagination takes man to the world of truth which is the world of beauty. A worship of beauty was both the motivation and the message of Keats’ poetry. His first ambitious work “Endymion” begins with “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” and his Ode ends with ” Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”

William Wordsworth’s Ode on Intimations of Immortality

English: Google books. Poem's title page from ...

English: Google books. Poem’s title page from volume two, cropped and joined onto one image by User:Ottava Rima. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Wordsworth arranged his poems for publication, he placed the Ode entitled “Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood” at the end, as if he regarded it as the crown of his creative life.

The three parts of the Ode deal with a crisis, an explanation, and a consolation, and in all three parts Wordsworth speaks of what is most important and most original in his poetry. The Ode’s unusual form is matched by its unusual language. The stately metrical form is matched by a stately use of words. Wordsworth seems to have decided that his subjects was so important that it must be treated in what was for him an unusual manner, and for it he fashioned his own style. Because the Ode lies outside Wordsworth’s usual range, it doesn’t perhaps realize its ambitious aims. He, who had known moments of visionary splendor, found that he knew them no more, and that is a loss which no poet can take lightly, or however comforting his consolations may be, accept in a calm, philosophic spirit. But Wordsworth was so determined not to surrender to circumstances that he made his Ode more confidant than was perhaps warranted by the mood which first set him to work. Continue Reading: Romantic Era: A Comparative Study on Wordsworth’s Ode on Intimations of Immortality & Coleridge’s Dejection

Essay on Books

    Books are of different types. Some of them are useful and delightful while others are not. The exact value of books is greatly related to their content and purpose. 

books

books (Photo credit: brody4)

   Francis Bacon, a famous English essayist, classifies books into three categories in his formal essay ” Of studies”: ” Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested.” In other words, some books should be read in parts; others hastily, without much concentration and attention; and some few thoroughly and steadily.

     In essence, books are used as a source of knowledge and information; they are also used as a source of pleasure and amusement. As a source of knowledge, books are considered valuable stores and treasures of information, wisdom and moral advice, for they widen the horizon of the reader’s thoughts, deepen the meaning of his life and enrich his experience. By reading a useful book in the field of history or science, for instance, one can learn a lot about past generations and live with the most honest people of past centuries. In fact, a valuable book is to the mind as nourishing food is to the body. As a source of delight, there is no companion like a good book, specially when one feels lonely and sad. One can drive evil thoughts, anxiety and boredom out of one’s mind by reading an entertaining book. This certainly relates to the positive side of books. 

   As regards the negative side, there are books that are very dangerous to read, for they poison the reader’s thoughts and spoil his character. Examples of such books are those on crimes, violence and immoral or indecent behavior. Books of this category are a waste of time, specially to our children; they may  instill evil thoughts in  their minds and, subsequently, affect their behavior adversely. Consequently, parents should be very careful and cautious  when selecting books for their children.

     In conclusion, books, if well selected, can be regarded not only as faithful friends but also as unfathomable wells of knowledge. Although they can not control the length of our lives, they, undoubtedly, can control their width and depth, thus rendering them more  meaningful and enjoyable.