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A PROJECT ON

WORKS AND ACHIEVEMENT OF JOHN KEATS


SUBMITTED TO
MRS. ARUNA HYDE
(FACULTY ENGLISH)

PREPARED BY
SHANTI BIKASH CHAKMA
SEMESTER II, ROLL NO. 74
B.A. LL.B. (HONS.)
BATCH IX

DATE OF SUBMISSION: 22.02.2010

HIDAYATULLAH NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSUTY


RAIPUR (C.G.)
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I, Shanti Bikash Chakma, feel myself highly elated, as it gives me tremendous pleasure to come
out with work on the topic WORKS AND ACHIEVEMENT OF JOHN KEATS.
Words fail to express my deep sense of glee to my teacher, MRS. ARUNA HYDE who
enlightened me with his beautiful work on this topic. I would like to thank him for guiding me in
doing all sorts of researches, suggestions and having discussions regarding my project topic by
devoting his precious time. I thank to the H.N.L.U for providing Library, Computer and Internet
facilities. And lastly I thank my friends and all those persons who have helped me in the
completion of this project.

Thanks,

SHANTI BIKASH CHAKMA


SEMESTER II
ROLL NO. - 74

TABLE OF CONTENTS

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

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INTRODUCTION

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INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND OF JOHN KEATS

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WORKS AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF JOHN KEATS

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CONCLUSION

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

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WEBLIOGRAPHY

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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES


The aim and objective of this project is to draw works and achievements of John Keats.

SOURCES OF DATA
The sources of data for this project are secondary in nature, including books, articles and online
resources.

MODE OF WRITING
The mode of writing in this project is descriptive and analytical.

INTRODUCTION
John Keats was born on 31 October 1795 and took his last breathe on 23 February 1821. He was
the first of Frances Jennings and Thomas Keats's five children, one of whom died in
infancy. His parents had been wed for barely a year when John was born. His maternal
grandparents, John and Alice Jennings, were well-off and, upon his parents' marriage, had
entrusted the management of their livery business to Thomas. John Keats was born as the
greatest romantic poet. He was one of the key figures in the second generation of the movement,
despite publishing his work over only a four year period. 1 He was educated at the Rev. Mr.
Clarke's school at Enfield.
The money problems which began with his grandfather's death were exacerbated by his mother's
death in Mid-March of 1810 and his grandmother's death in December of 1814. Keats, as the
eldest child, was old enough to try and help his mother through her illness; her death impressed
itself upon him deeply. His grandmother, whose home had been his for nearly a decade, was
also sorely missed.
Keats displayed great aptitude for the difficult job though his enthusiasm waned as his interest in
poetry grew. For the next three years, he studied medicine. He also wrote his first poem in
1814, a few months before his grandmother died.

O'Neill and Mahoney (1988) p 418

INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND OF JOHN KEATS


At the time when John Keats was born it was said that 'poets are born, not made`. Poets at that
time were either gentleman from the upper classes where incomes were unearned, or well
educated with broad intellectual backgrounds that gave them the ability to make a living from
writing. Keats's background was, at the time, definitely of the 'lower' classes. He didn't have any
of the cultural and social advantages that many of his contemporary poets took for granted. Also,
in Keats's early life there was nothing to indicate a poetic talent. He had to be a self made poet or
none at all. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to understand what an incredible amount of energy
he needed to become a poet. The fact that he grew to become a poet whose writing has lived for
one and a half centuries, is almost unbelievable. The odds against him were incredible. This is
why Keats's poetry becomes much more meaningful with a little knowledge of the facts of his
life. Thomas Keats, John's father was an employee of a livery stable and an inn near Moorgate in
London. When he married his employer's daughter, Frances Jennings in 1794, his circumstances
improved. John was born the next year. The father's job seems to have been secure and well paid.
John's grandfather and grandmother retired and put their son-in-law in charge of the stables and
inn. This meant that the father could choose a good school for his boys. He chose a school in
Enfield, near the grandparents. For John's purposes this school was an excellent choice. The
headmaster of the school, John Clarke, was an enlightened and liberal minded teacher.
John Keats began at Clarke's school when he was seven, and continued his ordinary, happy
childhood there. He was a likable boy, good looking and always had a lot of friends. Still, he
gained some notoriety at school for his aggressive temper. Young Keats was a fighter. In spite of
his fierceness, his boyhood remained sunny.
When he was nearly ten the first of many tragedies that would change his personality for ever
took place on a London street. His father was thrown off his horse and died of his injuries. As if
this wasn't enough; his mother's mourning didn't last for long. Because of her inheritance of
John's father, she became the "victim" of a fortune hunter. Within two months of John's father's
death she had remarried a bank clerk named Rawlings. John must have seen this as something of
a betrayal. Almost immediately afterwards came a third catastrophe. Mr. Jennings, John's
maternal grandfather, died early in 1805. He left his family well provided for, but some
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provisions of his will were unclear and left openings that would make John's finances suffer later
in life. Shortly after his death, Rawlings and his new wife ran into money difficulties. In the legal
and family upsets that followed, John and the other children were taken to live with their
grandmother in Enfield. John's liveliness was now being interrupted by depressed moods that
would plague him all his life. Yet the days in Enfield were not totally black. The school with its
gentle atmosphere was a safe haven for John whose world had been shattered. His grandmother
gave the children a pleasant home.
John Keats was temperamentally incapable of doing things by halves. He studied day and night
and carried off with that year's school prize for best literary work. By then he had read nearly
every book in the school library and he begged his master for more. Of course he won his
mother's approval, but he wouldn't enjoy it for long. Her illness had become a 'decline' which
was another term for the disease called 'consumption', or tuberculosis. The disease was, as it
always was in those days, fatal. And John who was fourteen had become aware of the fact that
she would die. As his mother's illness worsened, John's devotion deepened. He took care of his
mother. He made her meals, kept her company, sat up with her, read to her and allowed no one
else to tend to her. But he had to get back to school. While he was there the news of his mother's
death came. John took his family's burdens very seriously.
He knew that he had to train himself to make a living. In the end he chose the profession of
medicine. Arguably his choice was influenced by his recent misery, his helplessness in the face
of his mother's fatal illness. Keats entered a placid period as an apprentice to a apothecarysurgeon named Hammond. This meant he was a slightly glorified servant. However he had some
free time which he used to develop his love of books. In his search of books he was aided by an
older friend, Charles Cowden Clarke, the son of Keats's former headmaster. With Clarke's
encouragement, Keats devoured history, geography, a little science, a great deal of popular
fiction, classics and English literature. And of course he also read a good deal of poetry.
Another turning point in Keats's life came when Clarke one day gave him the Faire Queene by
Edmund Spenser. This is a long unfinished, sixteenth century masterwork. Young Keats was
delighted. And more: it sparked his first poem: 'Imitation of Spenser'. Keats had fallen in love
with poetry. That love contained the same fervent intensity as all the other loves of his life. But
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at the same time he was a medical student, working hard towards earning a proper living. Keats
remained reasonably devoted to medicine at least through 1815. Given the horrifying nature of
much medical practice then, a man needed much dedication. But Keats continued and in 1816 he
passed his examination and became a licensed apothecary. But his mind turned away from his
earlier ambition of becoming a surgeon. He had other ideas. The previous year he had worked up
the courage, or confidence, to reveal to Clarke that he had started writing poetry. He had shown
Clarke an early sonnet and he had been impressed. Encouraged, Keats had gone on showing him
and others his work. He might not have been surrounded by experts of poetry. But he turned to
his books. So he had full awareness of the exciting upheavals poetry was undergoing:
Romanticism was underway.
WORKS AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF JOHN KEATS
In 1814 at the age of nineteen he Keats wrote a surviving poem known as An Imitation of
Spenser. In 1816, Keats received his apothecary's licence but before the end of the year he
announced to his guardian that he had resolved to be a poet, not a surgeon. In May 1816 Keats
publish the sonnet O Solitude in his magazine The Examiner, a leading liberal magazine of the
day.2
In 1819, during his time at Wentworth, he also wrote The Eve of St. Agnes, La Belle Dame Sans
Merci, Hyperion, Lamia and Otho (critically slammed and not dramatised till 1950). In
September, very short of money, he approached his publishers with his new poems. They were
unimpressed with the collection, finding the presented versions of Lamia confusing, and
describing St Agnes as having a "sense of pettish disgust" and "a 'Don Juan' style of mingling up
sentiment and sneering a poem unfit for ladies".3
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To Autumn would go on, long after his death, to become one of the most highly praised poems

in the English language.5 The final volume Keats lived to seeLamia, Isabella, The Eve of St.
2

Hirsch, Edward (2001)


Gittings (1968) p 504
4
The 1888 Encyclopaedia Britannica declared, "Of these [odes] perhaps the two nearest to absolute perfection, to
the triumphant achievement and accomplishment of the very utmost beauty possible to human words, may be that of
to Autumn and that on a Grecian Urn" Baynes, Thomas (Ed.). Encyclopedia Britannica Vol XIV. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1888. OCLC 1387837. p23
3

Agnes, and Other Poemswas eventually published in July 1820. It received much greater
acclaim than had Endymion or Poems, finding favourable notices in both The Examiner and The
Edinburgh Review.
When Keats died, at the age of 25, he had been seriously writing poetry for barely six years
from 1814 until the summer of 1820 - and publishing only for four. His first poem, the sonnet O
Solitude appeared in the Examiner in May 1816 and his collection Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St
Agnes and other poems came in July 1820 before his final voyage to Rome. The compression of
this poetic apprenticeship and maturity into so short a time is one remarkable aspect of Keats's
work.6
"When he died at the tragically early age of 25, his admirers praised him for thinking "on his
pulses" for having developed a style which was more heavily loaded with sensualities, more
gorgeous in its effects, more voluptuously alive to actualities than any poet who had come before
him." In his own words, Keats sought to "load every rift" with ore. 7 His skills were
acknowledged by his influential allies such as Shelley, Hunt and to a lesser extent Byron, among
the third generation of Romantic poets, 8 if receiving some harsh reviews from critics and
publishers. Some of the collected works and achievement of John Keats are:
The Complete Poetical Works and Letters of John Keats ed. Horace Elisha Scudder,
Boston: Riverside Press (1899)9
The Complete Poetical Works of John Keats ed. H. Buxton Forman. Oxford University
Press (1907)10
The Letters of John Keats 18141821 Volumes 1 and 2 ed. Hyder Edward Rollins.
Harvard University Press (1958)11

Bate p 581: each generation has found it one of the most nearly perfect poems in English."
O'Neill and Mahoney (1988) p418
7
Keats Letter To Percy Bysshe Shelley, 16 August 1820
8
Andrew Motion. "Article 23 January 2010 ''An introduction to the poetry of John Keats''". Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jan/23/john-keats-andrew-motion. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
9
The Complete Poetical Works and Letters of John Keats. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
10
The Complete Poetical Works of John Keats . Retrieved 11 February 2010.
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The Poems of John Keats ed. Jack Stillinger Harvard University Press (1978)12
Complete Poems ed. Jack Stillinger. Harvard University Press (1982)13
John Keats: Poetry Manuscripts at Harvard, a Facsimile Edition. ed. Jack Stillinger.
Harvard University Press (1990) ISBN 067447775814
Selected Letters of John Keats ed. Grant F. Scott. Harvard University Press (2002)15
John Keats. Ed. Susan Wolfson. Longman (2007)
On Peace (1814)
On Seeing the Elgin Marbles (1817)
On the Grasshopper and Cricket (1816)
On the Sea (1817)
On The Story of Rimini (1817)
Sleep and Poetry (1816)
Specimen of an Induction to a Poem (1816)
This pleasant tale is like a little copse (1817)
To a Friend Who Sent Me Some Roses (1816)
To A Young Lady Who Sent Me A Laurel Crown (1816 or 1817)
To Autumn (1819)
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The Letters of John Keats 18141821 Volumes 1 and 2 . Retrieved 11 February 2010.
The Poems of John Keats. Retrieved 11 February 2010
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Complete Poems. Retrieved 11 February 2010.
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John Keats: Poetry Manuscripts at Harvard. Retrieved 11 February 2010
15
Selected Letters of John Keats. Retrieved 11 February 2010
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To Hope (1815)
To one who has been long in city pent (1816)
To Some Ladies (1815)
To the Ladies Who Saw Me Crownd (1816 or 1817)
You say you love; but with a voice (1817 or 1818)
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer (1816)
On Leaving Some Friends at an Early Hour (1816)
O come, dearest Emma! the rose is full blown (1815)
O grant that like to Peter I (1817?)
O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell (1815 or 1816)
Ode on a Grecian Urn (1819)
Ode on Indolence (1819)
Ode on Melancholy (1819)
Ode to a Nightingale (1819)
Ode to Apollo (1815)
Ode to Psyche (1819)
Oh Chatterton! how very sad thy fate (1815)
Oh! how I love, on a fair summer's eve (1816)
Old Meg (1818)
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On a Leander Which Miss Reynolds, My Kind Friend, Gave Me (1817)


Isabella or The Pot of Basil (1818)
Keen, fitful gusts are whispring here and there (1816)
La Belle Dame sans Merci (1819)
Lamia (1819)
Fill for me a brimming bowl (1814)
Give me women, wine, and snuff (1815 or 1816)
God of the golden bow (1816 or 1817)
The Gothic looks solemn (1817)
Had I a man's fair form, then might my sighs (1815 or 1816)
Hadst thou livd in days of old (1816)
Happy is England! I could be content (1816)
Hither, hither, love (1817 or 1818)
How many bards gild the lapses of time (1816)

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CONCLUSION
John Keats died on 23 February 1821 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. His last
request was to be buried under a tombstone, without his name, and bearing only the legend (in
pentameter), "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." Severn and Brown erected the stone.
Under a relief of a lyre with broken strings, the epitaph reads:
This Grave
contains all that was Mortal,
of a
Young English Poet,
Who,
on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart,
at the Malicious Power of his Enemies,
Desired
these Words to be engraven on his Tomb Stone:
Here lies One
Whose Name was writ in Water.
Thus, the above are the works and achievements of John Keats at his life time.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
John Keats By Walter Jackson Bate, Edtn. 1979
Keats: Biography and Autobiography By Andrew Motion, Edtn. 1999
John Keats By John Barnard, Edtn. 1987
John Keats: his life and poetry, his friends, critics and after-fame By Sir Sidney Colvin,
Edtn. 2006

WEBLIOGRAPHY
http://www.google.com/john_keats
http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Keats
http://www.john-keats.com
http://www.englishhistory.net/keats.html
http://www.online-literature.com/keats
http://www.northallertoncoll.org.uk/english/alit/keats/life.htm

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