John Keats and the Loss of Romantic Innocence
John Keats and the Loss of Romantic Innocence traces Keats's use of an Appolonian metaphor. Of the nearly 150 works listed in Jack Stillinger's standard edition, approximately half contain references to the god of nature and of art. What emerges are three distinct phases in Keats's aesthetic development. From his initial fondness for bower imagery and the pastoral voices of Spenser and Hunt, to the Neo-Platonism of his poems about art and imagination, to his ultimate rejection of romantic idealism, Keats and his Apollonian metaphor are rarely separated. The poet's dismissal of romantic idealism is ultimately a rejection of Blake's God, Coleridge's of Germanism, Wordsworth's Nature, Byron's Hellenism, and Shelley's Supernaturalism. The young poet dies aware of the excesses of his empirically oriented pleasant smotherings and idealistic realms of gold. He accepts a world without Apollo and his entourage, a world unembellished by art and other gilded cheats.
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