10 Seneca, The Stoic of Philosophy of Seneca, ed. With precise similarity, Seneca agreed that friendship did not impinge on a solitary life, as vacuous socializing did, and Seneca extolled friendship as one of the best things life can offer (88). Sleep is an embalmer and provider of gloom, dark, shade, and escape. .” (44-5). 11 Irvine, The Guide to the Good Life, 34-5. Therefore, one could only arrive at one’s true character by facing challenges (37), just as one could not, in Keats’s terminology, achieve a soul without such challenges. 18 John Keats was an English Romantic lyric poet whose verse is known for its vivid imagery and great sensuous appeal. The purposes of that exercise were to encourage a person to make the most of his life, to put events in perspective, and to make the eventual end less daunting. 3 English Romantic poet John Keats was born on October 31, 1795, in London. . . Seneca’s parallel essay to Keats’s “vale of soul-making letter” is an essay “On Providence” (27-45). The unimportance of material goods, the self-sufficient love of solitude that disdained socializing, and the importance of the internal versus external world were the hallmarks of an appropriate life outlined by Seneca that Keats represented; he even outdid Seneca in bringing those values to life. which connotes any value. 14 Irvine, The Guide to the Good Life, 56. Reason, like knowledge, implicates the power of the mind, the emotions Keats, not long after his arrival to the destination of his death, the apartment at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome, found the strength to write a letter and affirm his philosophy. John Keats' Ideas - The Keatsian Theology. What is left unexplained resides in my fascination and reverence for a suffering and extraordinary person. And purge the ether of our enemies; For Seneca, understanding and reconciling oneself to adversity fostered tranquility; however, emotions arising from hardship were not the only challenge to a tranquil state of mind. Although the title might appear to be an address, as in an ode, it is the first link to death in invoking Hamlet’s soliloquy considering the benefits of death, “to die, to sleep, to dream, ah there’s the rub.” Words connoting death define the benefits of sleep in the poem, creating a metaphor between sleep and death with the shared comparative, element being welcome relief. Of the three characters who speak to Saturn on the topic of the trauma and dismay of the Titans after their fall, Oceanus is more positively portrayed than the other two, as his speech seems to cast a spell over the listening Titans: “Whether through poz’d conviction, or disdain, / They guarded silence, when Oceanus / Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell?” (Book II, lines 244-46). About October 1819 Keats became engaged to Fanny. I have been hovering for some time between an exquisite sense of the, luxurious, and a love for philosophy,—were I calculated for the former, I should be glad. For Keats, a great poem required discomfort. He wrote that “sorrow is always stubborn” (109) and felt that one had to “allow grief its claims of nature” (102). Keats encouraged them to think upon what could be counted as valuable and consoling: “I have Fanny [his sister] and I have you—three people whose happiness to me is sacred–and it does annul that selfish sorrow . How to feed fierce the crooked stings of fire, .”1 Taken alone, this advice might appear an off-hand comment; however, it was the last of many statements that Keats made about philosophy in his letters. Although Keats did not pursue the logic of Dr. Pangloss and state that suffering was for the best because it gave the world material for poetry, he did seem to consider adversity as necessary for poetry and, in that regard, of value. The only way to work an improvement on his mental state would have been on his own, through his philosophy. You have passed through life without an adversary; no one can know your potentiality, not even you. Even though Keats encouraged thinking to console his family members upon Tom’s death, over a year later he admitted in connection with the death of a friend the difficulty of facing one’s own grief: “Even so we have leisure to reason on the misfortunes of our friends; our own touch us too nearly for words” (303). The Stoic Lifestyle, Solitude, and the Disdain of Fame In the early stages of his consumption, Keats came upon the idea that death, viewed as an impending certainty, served to beautify life. . In “Lamia” the woman Lycius loves is not what she seems to be, and neither is love once played out to it natural consequences. .” (84). In his letters Keats does not pronounce tranquility his goal, per se, yet it can be reasonably inferred that tranquility was his philosophical end. John Keats, The Complete Poems of John Keats With his tragic death at 25, Keats did not have time to3 create a large canon of poetry. .”(88-9). Now it appears to me that almost any Man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy Citadel . We see, then, Keats contemplated the reason for adversity and arrived at his own understanding of its origin and usefulness; having done so, he laid the basis for seeking the shelter of tranquility from the storm clouds that he described as ever-forming. . .” (176). 18 The Keats Circle, ed. Creating one’s own system struck him as the correct path because he felt anyone could construct his own philosophy: “Memory should not be called Knowledge. He also described the unreliability of joy when commenting on the news of the death of a friend’s father: “This is the world—thus we cannot expect to give away many hours to pleasure. Ay, in the very temple of delight 11 Irvine, The Guide to the Good Life, 34-5. When confronted with sorrow, Keats believed that reason was helpful, as seen in a letter to his brother George and his sister-in-law, when their brother Tom was near death. Therefore, by unstated contrast, the Stoic individual who keeps to a moderate course, who does not indulge the excess of joy, is spared the sorrow and can live in tranquility. .” (Part II, lines 85-86). . The third feature of a Stoic lifestyle is the importance of the internal world, versus the external world. ” (54). . John Keats was born on 31 st October 1795. Neither Keats nor Seneca gave any credence to suffering as punishment or as the basis for the compensations of a heavenly afterlife. Although he stated that it was impossible, farther in the letter he suggested to the contrary, by observing that a proposition could be established as true if it were tested by experience. From then until his early death, the story of his life is largely the story of the poetry he wrote. disdained the mean-spiritedness and vanity that he was prone to encounter while socializing. .” 11 At the heart of Stoicism was the search for tranquility, a consistent state of mind, free of excitement or depression (79-80). As Seneca pointed out, “No situation is so harsh that a dispassionate mind cannot find some consolation in it” (93). Looking at his work, one can interpret his poem “Lamia” as his Stoic statement on the topic of romantic love in which reason conquers irrational passion, even annihilates it. On the second criterion of a philosopher, Seneca encouraged his acolytes to ponder philosophical matters as the summum bonum: “. And in the proof much comfort will I give, Also, without reason there was no path toward a happy life, since, as discussed above, reason explained adversity and made control of the emotions possible (239). Beauty and the Imagination. “. (Book II, lines 326-330) The only way to work an improvement on his mental state would have been on his own, through his philosophy. From the moment Lycius perceives Lamia, no reasonable thought comes into his head. In addition to sorrow, sexual love was an issue of the heart that posed a challenge for reason to confront. . which connotes any value. . He was glad for a good meal if it came his way, but attached no importance to fine dining. References to Keats’s poetry are to this edition and are cited hereafter by poem, book or part (where necessary), and line. On the topic of passionate love, reason failed in his life and won in his poem Lamia. ” (106). One might similarly surmise that there are also many notions of a philosophical nature expressed by Keats that do not accord with Stoicism, although I would argue that is not the case with regard to his practical philosophy; I borrow Keats’s own words to explain any divergence of thought: “Minds would leave each other in contrary directions, traverse each other in numberless points, and at last greet each other at the journey’s end” (89). suffered from the deterioration of his lungs and stomach and his extreme mental anguish in awful detail and then concluded: “. Seneca, a Roman Stoic, who lived from about 4 B.C. Knowledge played an important part to foster tranquility for both Keats and Seneca. Death Now it appears to me that almost any Man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy Citadel . 7 Richard P. Benton, “Keats and Zen,” Philosophy East and West 16 (1966). So many men make the rounds of houses, theater, and thrust themselves into other people’s affairs, and always give the impression of being busy. .” 11 At the heart of Stoicism was the search for tranquility, a consistent state of mind, free of excitement or depression (79-80). Endymion appeared in 1818. melodramatic scenery has fascinated them” (303). . He posited: “Do you not see how necessary a world of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a Soul?” (327). there are none prepared to suffer in obscurity for their Country” (218). luxurious, and a love for philosophy,—were I calculated for the former, I should be glad. 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