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John Keats, La Belle Dame Sans Merci

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John Keats

Born 1795 London

1804 died his dad mom 2nd marriage with no success

è mom goes away

1810 mom died tuberculosis

Studied medicine no good health to support studies

è interest in literature unsuccessful literary career

1814 died brother Tom

1820 physical conditions get worse and worse leaves England to better climates

è Rome, Italy

Most productive period 1816/1819 ODES

Particularly sad life not involved in social life

è tragedies + economic difficulties + unsuccessful literary career +

hopeless love affair

Sense of melancholy

Impending sense of death

Sense of sadness

Poetry for him meant something to ESCAPE from his sad life

è IMAGINATION struck by BEAUTY can make things immortal

è can be also terrible

è settled in every object & relationships

è psychological beauty

Poetry means to DEFEAT DEATH cause the poet days but the work stays

è as example of beauty

PROPHET OF BEAUTY moments of inspiration when Beauty strikes the poet's


La Belle Dame Sans Merci

It's an ODE

è Linked to Medieval Age legends + supernatural elements

è but seen in a romantic point of view

traditional form of the BALLAD subject = love

è seen with romantic eyes = symbolic

setting = Nature

è evocative use of used to let the

readers understand better the feelings of the protagonist.

cyclic form

begins in Medias Res

wandering of the KNIGHT symbol = to find truth

LADY sensual love = a refrain to his hopeless love

death = from the tragedies of his life

poetry = in a moment of lack of inspiration

beauty = not a physical one but in a moral one 'cause she's a sort of witch

SENSE OF MAGIC develops in the sexy language of the lady bewitching

DREAM/REALITY living an illusion. Is he awake or asleep?

è awakes finally in a field lived the experience or not?

Coleridge sense of SUBLIME = something great/huge/horrible/more than beautiful

è the horrible/terrible beauty

the skin protagonist deathlike character

è need to wander like a poet in search of imagination

¹ Coleridge shorter ballad

no moral end


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