Afterword: <i>Ode to Psyche</i> and <i>Ode on a Grecian Urn</i>

Porscha Fermanis

in John Keats and the Ideas of the Enlightenment

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780748637805
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652181 | DOI:
Afterword: Ode to Psyche and Ode on a Grecian Urn

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This chapter briefly extends the consideration of human understanding and the visionary imagination to Ode to Psyche and Ode on a Grecian Urn. It looks towards two arguments in relation to Ode to Psyche. It then tries to show that the idea of reverie is not primarily escapist, but rather has a longer intellectual history in Enlightenment understandings of the mind. The partial images of Ode on a Grecian Urn are only partial if they are expected to conform to an idea of truth that is prescriptive or instrumental in its orientation. Keats' reflections on truth and beauty in his letters, and his repeated emphasis on the revelatory nature of the imagination, point to the influence of Idealist thinkers; but in Ode to Psyche he follows empirical theories of perception in implying that sense data are basically copies of objects or ideas that can subsequently be recreated in the mind.

Keywords: Ode to Psyche; Ode on a Grecian Urn; John Keats; visionary imagination; Enlightenment

Chapter.  3744 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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