‘The Very Word’
This chapter looks at the ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ and Keats's return on the word ‘forlorn’, this includes a discussion of how Keats earned the wrath of ‘the rhyming critics’, and his relation in this to Leigh Hunt. The chapter then looks at anti-Keats reviewers and the question of control and intent in his verse, Keats on poetry as self-attention and attention to sound, and some weak rhymes in early Keats. The chapter discusses Endymion's couplet structure and its employment of repetition, rhyme and the idea of chance in Keats, the influence of Wordsworth's repetitions, Keats and the reaction against Pope's rhyme, and Keats's sense of auditory structure and rhyme within blank verse, with examples from ‘Hyperion’. The chapter then moves on to consider repetition as mirroring of rhyme-schemes, Keats and the sonnet, the sonnet and improvisation, and the influence of Shakespearean performance, with Edmund Kean. Next the chapter analyses Hazlitt's ‘gusto’ in this connection and some Keats sonnets as explorations of improvisatory ‘gusto’. It looks at ‘When I have fears...’ and Shakespeare's Sonnet 64. It further considers Keats's ‘love and fame’ and Pope. It goes on to consider Keats's experimental sonnet rhyme-schemes and the extempore, early nineteenth-century ideas on the sonnet, and Keats's experiments, including the rhymeless sonnet. It finally examines ‘If by dull rhymes...’, and the evolution of Keats's Ode stanzas, and Wordsworth's ‘Surprised by Joy’ and Keats's ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.
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