An Overview of John Keats Poems, Poetic Style and Poetry

By Nadia Ansari
In Poetry
Nov 2nd, 2012
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John Keats, a famous English romantic poet and dramatist, was considered a leading poet of the 18th century. Besides fame, he always received critical reception by many other renowned poets. This article is all about literary criticism on the great poet.

If you are a student of literature then you may also find various literary criticism websites that can better facilitate you regarding your literature assignments. However, this article is also an effort towards a literary criticism guide on John Keats.

A Brief Biography of John Keats

John Keats belonged to a lower middle class family and had limited education. His lower social standing and poor health did not allow him to work and excel more and more. He always wanted to develop his poetic skills and worked for advance theories in poetry. However, his premature death at just twenty five did not allow him to fulfill his deeds. Even after his death, his writings continued to be counted as overly sensuous, sensitive and simplistic approach in the field of poetry.

The modern critics of the twentieth century revalued the writings of Keats. The most common areas that received critical reception by other critics include Keats’s political inclinations, his poetic imagination and his special treatment to women which can be widely seen in his poetry. Moreover, his style from his early writings, the Cockney style to the more complex efforts as he made in Hyperion also received critical analysis from modern critics.

The 6 Odes of John Keats (1819)

In 1819, Keats composed his 6 famous odes which remain evergreen till date and are considered an epitome of beauty in words.

  1. Ode to an Nightingale
  2. Ode on a Grecian Urn
  3. Ode to Melancholy
  4. Ode on Indolence
  5. Ode to Psyche
  6. Ode to Autumn

The first five odes were composed in the spring of 1819 while the last one, Ode to Autumn was composed in the autumn of 1819.

Famous Poems by John Keats

  • Bright Star
  • A Thing of Beauty (Endymion)
  • A Draught Of Sunshine
  • When I Have Fears
  • A Party Of Lovers
  • When I Have Fears

John Keats Poetry Analysis

Although John Keats never studied Greek but his earlier work was based on mythological themes. The poetical theme was beautifully combined with artistic imagery creating powerful effects for the readers. However, it is a fact that his earlier contributions like ‘Endymion’ had some flaws.

Later on, in 1820s he published a volume of his writings including his famous work ‘Hyperion.’ Another important contribution was ‘The Fall of Hyperion’ was an attempt to revise the previous work which had some flaws in the view of several critics.

Some other important contributions involved Odes. The poetic approach behind this poem was an effort to depict the relation between life and art. The nature of suffering faced by human is also discussed in this poem.

Literary Criticism on John Keats’ Poetry

The literary reputation of Keats is always hit by modern critics. For example in 1988, Marjorie Levinson focused on the barriers posed by John Keats’s lower middle class social status. This badly affected his working potential and influenced his contributions with negative impression. In 1992, Nicholas Roe maintained another argument that Keats poetry had always been influenced with political inclinations that made his writings censured by several critics. In 1983, Dickstein argued that Keats maintained the urge for political and social progress and same sort of themes in his poetic efforts. This depicts his liberal political agenda. Last but not the least; John Keats also portrayed a beautiful blend of emotions and love for life in many poems.

More Works by John Keats

Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats (Modern Library Classics)

Keats: Poems Published in 1820

Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends (Classic Reprint)

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