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Six Odes of John Keats | Study Guide Keats Overview Author Keats Years Published 1820 48 Type Poetry Genre Nature At a Glance John Keats composed six odes during the year 1819, with most of them written during the spring. The six odes trace a thematic path reflecting the nature of time, immortality, nature, love, and beauty. These verses are addressed to people, a goddess, a bird, and different emotions. In composing these poems, Keats also experiments with different structures and forms, borrowing from and blending the styles of famous sonneteers. Some poets who influenced him were English authors William Shakespeare (1564 1616) and John Milton (1608 74) and Italian poet Petrarch (1304 74). Context Romanticism and Romantic Poetry Romanticism a philosophical, literary, and artistic movement of the mid-18th through mid-19th centuries rebuffed the tenets of the neoclassical period that occurred simultaneously. Neoclassical authors regarded mankind as inherently flawed and used their writing to moralize and to educate readers. They saw perfection in the works of ancient Greek and Roman authors and sought to imitate their content and style. Romantic writers, on the other hand, rejected the neoclassicists' embrace of rationalism. They preferred to find inspiration in their imaginations and emotions, in dreams, and in the world of nature. They relished the expression of personal feelings. In the 1800 edition of his poetry collection, Lyrical Ballads with Other Poems , English poet William Wordsworth (1770 1850) defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." This embrace and investigation of emotions was a strong thread throughout the Romantic poetry of the era. Many Romantics championed notions of liberty and the rights of the individual to follow their ideals. These concepts led to concern about society's exploitation of its poorer classes. English poet William Blake (1757 1827) was one of the movement's more radical voices and often addressed the plight of marginalized individuals, as he did in his 1794 poem, "London," "[I see] in every face I meet / Marks of weakness, marks of woe." The Romantics wanted their poems to be accessible to people from all walks of life. Keats and Wordsworth, in particular, sought to write their verse in simple language. John Keats, along with George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 1824) and Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 1822) are considered to be among the second generation of English Romantic poets, while William Wordsworth, William Blake, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 1834) were members of the movement's first generation. Wordsworth and Shelley provided feedback with regard to the 1817 publication of Poems by John Keats , the poet's first volume. History of the Ode Keats wrote his odes in the Romantic tradition, which borrowed heavily from the style of ancient Greek poets. The word ode comes from the Greek, and means "to sing or chant." Greek odes were usually
formal in nature and tone. They were written, recited, or sung in honor of an event or person, and their performance was often accompanied by dancers and lyre music.

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