Subjects Freshman Year Reading African American Studies African Studies American Studies Anthropology Art, Film, Music and Architecture Asian Studies Business and Economics Criminology Education Environmental Studies Foreign Language Instructional Materials Gender Studies History Irish Studies Jewish Studies Latin American & Caribbean Studies Law and Legal Studies Literature and Drama Literature in Spanish Media Issues, Journalism and Communication Middle East Studies Native American Studies Philosophy Political Science Psychology Reference Religion Russian and Eastern European Studies Science and Mathematics Sociology Study Aids


E-Newsletters: Click here to be notified of new titles in your field
Click here to request Desk/Exam copies
Freshman Year Reading
View Our Award Winners
Click here to view our Catalogs
Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats

Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats

Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!

Order Exam Copy
E-Mail this Page Print this Page
Add This - Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats

Written by John KeatsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by John Keats
Introduction by Edward HirschAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Edward Hirsch

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 640 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library
  • On Sale: February 13, 2001
  • Price: $16.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-75669-6 (0-375-75669-8)
Also available as an eBook.

READING GUIDE

1. Compare the speakers of "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale." How would you describe each speaker's state of mind? In both poems, something exterior to the speaker serves as a catalyst for a vision. What is the vision that each speaker experiences? Are these visions compatible or competing? Discuss why it might be significant that "Ode on a Grecian Urn" ends with a statement while "Ode to a Nightingale" ends with a question.

2. Consider the role of the human senses in Keats's poems. Compare two or more poems that invoke the senses (such as "Ode to a Nightingale" or "The Eve of St. Agnes"). Why are the senses important? Do the poems value certain senses more than others? What is the relationship between the senses and poetic imagination/poetic insight that each of these poems offers?

3. Discuss the role of female figures in Keats's poems. Examine poems such as "The Eve of St. Agnes," and "La Belle Dame sans Merci." How are female figures used in each?

4. Consider Keats's letters as a statement of poetics. Discuss, in particular, Keats's letter to Richard Woodhouse, in which he claims, "A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence, because he has no Identity." What does he mean by this? What does he imagine is the poet's function in society-interpreter? creator? visionary? What, according to Keats, motivates the poet to write? Discuss his claim that, "I feel assured I should write from the mere yearning and fondness I have for the Beautiful even if my night's labours should be burnt every morning and no eye ever shine upon them."

5. Discuss Keats's definition of "Negative Capability" in his letter to George and Thomas Keats. What is Negative Capability, and who, according to Keats, possesses it? How might Negative Capability be related to his notion that the poet "has no identity"?

6. Keats's first collection of poems, published in 1817, received a barrage of negative criticism from Tory politicians. Examine John Wilson Croker's and John Gibson Lockhart's critiques of Keats's poems. What, specifically, do they find so offensive about Keats's language? What do they think is the appropriate language for poetry? In what ways does Keats's assertion that "with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration" threaten Croker's and Lockhart's assumptions about poetry?