Keats was born in London in 1795. In 1816 he announced his decision to devote his life to writing verse in the sonnet On first Looking into Chapman’s Homer. In 1818 appeared Endymion, a long mythological poem. Other important poems are: The Eve of St Agnes, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, To Autumn, Ode on Melancholy, To Psyche, La Belle Dame sans Merci and Hyperion. In 1822 he traveled to Italy but his health was not good and in 1821 he died in Rome.
In his poetry the personal pronoun “I” does not stand for a single human being but for a universal one. Poetry enables the poet to reach something endless in a world where sorrow is always present. Keats believed that imagination takes two form:
- The world of his poetry is artificial, something he images;
- A vision of his ideas of human life characterized by his experience of pain and misery.
The central theme of Keats’s poetry is the contemplation of beauty:
- Physical beauty : all the senses are involved. It is found both in all the forms of nature and in a woman. It changes and it’s linked to life and death;
- Spiritual beauty: it is linked with love, friendship and poetry; it is immortal.
In Keats’s view the poet has got a “negative capability” that means he is able to deny his personality in order to identify himself with what is the source of his inspiration.