Monday, March 22, 2010

Romantics vs. Gothics

After reading the poems for Tuesday's class, I thought that there were many elements to the poems that were reminiscent of the gothic poems, particularly in Keats' Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil. While reading this poem I couldn't help but think of it as Keats' romantic version of Alonzo the Brave. There seemed to be many parallels throughout the poem, although the ending was different.

In addition, I also noticed that in Isabella and La Belle Dame Sans Merci that Keats would often incorporate the seasons into his poems to represent life and death. He would compare winter to paleness and decay, while using Spring to represent beauty and life. I thought this was an interesting difference between Isabella and Alonzo the Brave, as Isabella plants her lover's head in a pot and her tears water the pot so that a wonderful basil plant is grown. Again, we have gothic elements of death and the supernatural, but here we have death being brought back to life and sadness creating joy.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Keats definitely puts nature to use differently from his gothic predecessors. Instead of a way to bring a story to final resolution, he seems to prefer to use nature's cyclical, well, nature as a way to leave his poems more open in the end. As you said, in Isabella nature bizzarely resurrects happiness in a tragic situation. I thought of Keats' other poem, To Autumn, in which he explores the constant renewal of nature despite its seasonal decaying. Here's the link to the entire poem:

    And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
    Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
    The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

    This poem is all about how autumn is a season of decay and transition, but Keats still finds a way to close with a sense of possibility.