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Hyperion-Theme of Evolution

Hyperion-Theme of Evolution

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Published by AbdulRehman
Keats' Hyperion-A superb epic in fragment.
Keats' Hyperion-A superb epic in fragment.

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Published by: AbdulRehman on May 16, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Hyperion is an unfinished poem in three books that is based on the Greek myth of the defeat of the Titans. Under Saturn, theTitans, including Hyperion, a sun God, ruled the Universe. They were overthrown by the Olympians, led by three sons of Saturn:Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. Hyperion was replaces by Apollo, who was also a sun God but had, in addition, particular associationswith music and poetry. Keats sees in the myth a means to express faith in the idea of progress. Even the old gods must admit thattheir successors are more beautiful and therefore better fitted to rule.Hyperion was begun by Keats beside his brother’s sickbed in September or October1818It is to Hyperion that he refers when hespeaks in those days of “plunging into abstract images”, and finding a “feverous relief” in the “abstractions” of poetry. Thesephrases are applicable only to Hyperion. It was finished sometime in April, 1819.The subject of Hyperion had long been in Keats’s mind, and both in the text and the preface of Endymion he indicated hisintention to attempt it. At first he thought of the poem to be written as a romance, but his plan changed to that of a blank verseepic in ten books. His purpose was to describe the warfare of the Titans and Olympians of the Greek gods; and in particular oneepisode of that warfare, the dethronement of the Sun-god Hyperion and the assumption of his kingdom by Apollo. Hyperionexists in two versions, both incomplete. The second version was a revision of the first, with the addition of a long introduction ina new style which makes it into a different poem. As a matter of fact, the period covered by Hyperion is the period of Keats’smost intense experience, both of joy and sorrow, in actual life; and of his most rapid development.The theme of the war between the Titans and the Olympians who overthrew them often occurs in the literature which Keats wasfond of reading. The specific theme, the dethronement of Hyperion, the old sun-god, by Apollo the new, is Keats’s own.Apollo isalso the god of poetryIn spite of its fragmentary condition, Hyperion remains Keats’s most imposing piece of work. According to the publishers, thehostile reception given to Endymion discouraged Keats from continuing with the poem. Keats himself said that he gave it upbecause of the first excessive Miltonic’s style. There were too many Miltonic inversions, he wrote to Reynolds. ”Miltonic versecannot be written but in an artful or rather in an artist’s humour.” The Miltonic influence is certainly obvious in the verse anddiction of the first Hyperion as it is in the design. There is for instance a constant use of inversions such as “Stride colossal”, “restdivine”, typical of Milton’s Latinized style. Especially noticeable is the trick of sandwiching a noun between two adjectives, forexample, “gold clouds metropolitan”. There are other fragments of classical sentence-structure too:Save what solemn tubes,Blown by the serious Zephyrs, gave of SweetAnd wandering sounds, slow-breathed melodies.But the poem is hardly Miltonic in any strict sense. In the matter of rhythm, Keats’s Blank Verse has not the Milton’s Flight. “itsperiods do not wheel through such stately evolution to so solemn and far-foreseen close; though it indeed lacks neither powernor music.” It is still the verse of Keats, but immensely purged and strengthened by contact with a severer master.The first Book of Hyperion shows the fallen Titans, with Saturn as the central figure, but Hyperion as the only one who remainseven potentially active. The second Book shows them in council and its vital part is the speech of Oceanus.My voice is not a bellows unto irc.Yet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop:And in this proof much comfort will I give,

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