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The Life and Works of John Keats

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  1. Each review document contains a description of the work that is being reviewed, a summary of the work and a critical assessment of the work (or works) being reviewed.
  2. The Life and Works of Thomas Gray
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  1. Read the text and find the answers to the following questions:

· What was the critics’ attitude to Keats’ works?

· With what did Keats influence other poets?

· What is “negative imagery” according to Keats?

· Was Keats fruitful in his creative activity?


If someone could give to the wealth of a language in as short a period as twenty-six years, the English romantic poet, John Keats did so perfectly! Born on the 31st of October 1795, Keats became one of the major weapons of the English Romantic Movement. Throughout the period that he wrote, other poets continued criticizing him. Especially his early poems like “Endymion” was criticized so much by Southey that the romantic poet, Shelly often attributes the deterioration of Keats’ health to such vehement criticism.

Vivid use of imagery was something Keats influenced poets like Alfred Tennyson with. Another major contribution of Keats to English literature is the aesthetic concept of negative imagery. By negative imagery Keats means that great poets have an inherent quality within themselves by which they know that not all matters can be resolved.

From the spring of 1818 till he died, Keats wrote more than most poets and all these word are critically acclaimed during the time. Perhaps this high level of productivity and sensitivity can be traced back to the death of Keats’ brother, Tom and his encounter with Fanny Brown and the critical note by Southey of “Endymion”. During the spring and summer of the year 1819, Keats wrote highly appreciated poems as “To Autumn”, “Ode to Melancholy”, “Ode to the Nightingale” and “Ode to Psyche”. “Mansion of Many Apartments” and “Negative Capability” are two very philosophically revolutionizing concepts that Keats brought in to life. In his letters to relatives and friends, Keats always expressed his desire to be a chameleon poet and stay away from the “egoistical sublime” as in Wordsworth’s poems.

Indeed Keats was a man with rare skill and an ingenious person to appreciate the forms of nature or beauty. He struggled through his short life to publish his three books and earned the due fame only after his death. He breathed his last on the 23rd of February 1821. As he had wanted, his tombstone was engraved with the words “Here lies one whose name was writ in water” and buried in Protestant Cemetery in Rome.



deterioration – ухудшение

inherent – неотъемлемый, присущий

chameleon – хамелеон

ingenious – искусный

tombstone – надгробие

writ – устар.написан, начертан

“Ode to Psyche” – «Ода Психее»



  1. Look through the text again and find words and constructions you may use in your professional discourse (scientific terms etc.). Translate and memorize them.
  2. Find the transcription of the following words and practise pronouncing them: weapon, throughout, vehement, nightingale, revolutionizing.
  3. Decide whether the following statements are true or false according to the text:

· Keats took criticism of his work to heart too much.

· Keats had a keen aesthetical perception of the world.

· Keats’ poems were willingly published before and after his death.


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Читайте в этой же книге: Philology | Hamitic Languages | Ural-Altaic languages | Textual and cognitive philology | Erasmus And The New Philological Method | Qualities of Literature | Each review document contains a description of the work that is being reviewed, a summary of the work and a critical assessment of the work (or works) being reviewed. | Geoffrey Chaucer was born in 1343. Chaucer worked as a diplomat, a courtier and a civil servant altogether. | The Life and Works of Thomas Gray | William Blake |
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