Monday, January 19, 2009

Keats reconsidered

I suppose the Romantics are the least congenial group of writers for me when it comes to English literature. O, that artificial diction and saccharine sentiment... Etc. Those exclamations, loose, undisciplined language. But now at least with Keats (and why not then with others) it seems that my very early judgment was wrong again. I think it was based on Endymion and Hyperion where he certainly is not my cup of syrup. Should have gone for the better stuff, I guess. His letters certainly give a marvellous image of a frighteningly perceptive and still amazingly humane and likeable great artist (seems to be a very rare combination). In fact the tone reminds me of Charles Sorley and does then give an idea of his potential; even more cruelly early end for his career - Keats at least had time to show his mature scope. It seems that the Romantics were exceptionally uneven in their output - they seem to have been really good when they were good, but much of the time they didn't perform near their peak, and when they were bad... On the whole, there is in me a certain preference for more classical, more controlled and distanced emotional approach in art. I tend to distrust overt artistic emotion especially when it seems to control the form and twist it unshapely, unpolished.

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