The Effect of Endymion and its Reviews on Keats’ Later Works

John Keats, a famous English poet who is known as a representative of the Romantic movement of the 19-th century was greatly criticized by his contemporaries including both the literary critics and other poets. The young poet’s life was devoted to poetry which differed from the poetry of his contemporary poets. The main ideas of Keats’ poetry are concluded in the glorification of beauty and the absence of political, philosophical, moral settings. The main task of Keats’ poetry is to give the readers aesthetic enjoyment.

The poem Endymion written by Keats in 1817, a period of his experiments in the literary work, is considered to be a poem of the mature poet who used all his skills and life experience to create a masterpiece in the world of poetry. (Plumly 23)

It is necessary to say that Keats’s poem Endymion encouraged the young poet to write more. His next poems included the following ones: Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes and others. Although the poem Endymion has a lot of elements from Keats’s early poems, there are many new elements which make this literary work unforgettable. The story described in the poem is based on Greek myth which tells about the love of Endymion, a mortal young man and Cynthia, a beautiful young moon goddess. It is interesting to note that the poem Endymion encouraged the poet to write one more mythological poem Hyperion, and the incomplete poem The Fall of Hyperion in 1820. In this poems, he touched upon the themes of the Titan’s fall to the victorious Olympians. (Strachan 12)

It is known that the poem Endymion was criticized by the contemporaries of Keats who did not like the style of the poem and called it “monstrously droll”. The most cruel critic of Keats poems was John Gibson Lockhart who made fun of Keats’s poetry and of his knowledge of medicine. He wrote in one of his reviews: “It is better and easier to be a starved apothecary than a starved poet; go back to the shop, Mr. John, back to plasters, pills and ointment boxes”. (Strachan 25)

Of course, such cruel critics influenced the life of John Keats who had got the first symptoms of tuberculosis just after the poem Endymion had been published. According to the historical data, Keats knew that his poetry would be appreciated in the future. He wrote: “I think I shall be among the English poets after my death”.(Turley 39)

The young poet’s prediction came true. The present day critics praise the poetry of John Keats which is considered to be tender, sensuous, intense. His poetry shows love of beauty which is represented by means of rich and colorful descriptions, and extremely melodious versification.

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that although the poetry of John Keats was harshly criticized by his contemporary critics, the poems of this talented young poet achieved the highest level of acclaim in the 20-th century. It is also known that John Keats’s works influenced a great deal of other poets of Victorian age such as Alfred Tennyson, Walter Pater and others. The major methods used by Keats in his poetry includes sonnet form of verses, melodiousness, love of beauty, visual imagery, a great number of colorful elements, which reproduce not only the colors but also their shades, intensity of emotions.


Works Cited
Plumly, S. Posthumous Keats. Cleveland: World Publishing Co.
Strachan, J. A Routledge Literary Sourcebook on the Poems of John Keats. New York: Routledge. 2003. Print.
Turley, R. Keats’ Boyish Imagination. London: Routledge. 2004. Print.


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