E491 JOHN KEATS QUESTIONS QUESTIONS

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Assigned: from Letters (942-48 only). Online Text.

From Letters (942-48 only)

"Negative Capability"

1. On 942-43, what is "negative capability"? How does Shakespeare exemplify this capability, while Coleridge, according to Keats, lacks it?

"Wordsworth's Poetry"

2. On 943-44, what criticism does Keats make of the Wordsworthian manner in poetry? What does Wordsworth do that he shouldn't, and what does he not do that he should?

"Keats's Axioms in Poetry"

3. On 944, Keats writes that "if Poetry comes not as naturally as the Leaves to a tree it had better not come at all." What do you think of that statement as a description of how poetry is generally written? Why is it or isn't it a good description of poetic composition?

"Milton, Wordsworth, and the Chambers of Thought"

4. On 945-47, what comparison does Keats make by contrasting the poetry of Milton and Wordsworth? Does Keats favor one over the other, or is that not the right question to ask? Explain.

"A Poet Has No Identity"

5. Why, according to Keats on 947-48, is the poet like a chameleon (i.e. "camelion")? Why, in the view Keats explores, would it be beside the point to praise or condemn poetry for its supposed moral status or tendencies?

Edition: Leitch, Vincent B., ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 1st ed. New York: Norton, 2001. ISBN 0-393-97429-4.