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Negative capability

Keats states that the from and style of art should capture its intensity. In order to accomplish this, the artist must paint or the poet must write in such a way that all the senses are simultaneously excited. Art should not touch one sense at a time; rather, the impression made one one sense excites by affinity those of another. Ultimately, Jeats wants to feel a work of art through its impressions on all the senses, and he tries to infuse his own poetry with a balance of intensity.
Keats asserts his idea of ‘negative capability’ in a letter to his brothers George and Thomas: “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. The great mind is one that can enjoy itself in the unknown, the uncertain, without feeling the need to analyze everything into certainty. Keats’s style is also marked by close attention to details, and in recording these details, he sees the great potential of sympathy and the imagination. Keats was influenced in part by a contemporary philosopher, Hazlitt (1778-1830), who wrote that “by nature we are sympathetic and not egocentric human beings.” Egocentrism focuses only on the self, but Hazlitt claims that the only way we have a sense of identity is through ‘sensation’ and ‘memory’.

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