Endymion

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Endymion

Postby gem » Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:28 pm

I recently came across John Keats whilst reading Enduring Love (Ian McEwan) and started to research Keats and read his poetry. I must say that i love the use of his language(it seems to flow beautifully) and imagery; I find it truely inspiring. I have just started to read Endymion, as background reading and wondered if anyone could possibly give me an overview, or at least the right angles to look at it from? would be much appreciated

i was also wondering if anyone had seen Enduring Love and whether they thought it was worth watching, or at all true to the book.
thank you
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Postby Saturn » Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:43 am

Welcome to the forum and great to see someone new getting into Keats - you won't regret it.

The question you asked about Endymion is a difficult one to answer as there are so many levels at which to look at Endymion.

At a simplistic level, it is a retelling of the Greek myth of the shepherd boy Endymion who is loved by the moon, or Diana/Artemis. Added to this by Keats was the whole thread of Endymion's sister, the sacrifice scene and the episode of Glaucus and Circe of which Endymion is only a spectator as Glaucus relates his tale.

On another level it is a story of the poet's journey form the infant Chamber to the Chamber of Maiden thought as Keats describes in a famous passage of his letters:

"…I compare human life to a large Mansion of Many Apartments, two of which I can only describe, the doors of the rest being as yet shut upon me-The first we step into we call the infant or thoughtless Chamber, in which we remain as long as we do not think-We remain there a long while, and notwithstanding the doors of the second Chamber remain wide open, showing a bright appearance, we care not to hasten to it; but are at length imperceptibly impelled by the awakening of the thinking principle-within us-we no sooner get into the second Chamber, which I shall call the Chamber of Maiden-Thought, than we become intoxicated with the light and the atmosphere, we see nothing but pleasant wonders, and think of delaying there for ever in delight: However among the effects this breathing is father of is that tremendous one of sharpening one’s vision into the heart and nature of Man-of convincing ones nerves that the World is full of Misery and Heratbreak, Pain, Sickness and oppression-whereby This Chamber of Maiden Thought becomes gradually darken’d and at the same time on all side of it many doors are set open-but all dark-all leading to dark passages-We see not the ballance of good and evil. We are in a Mist-We are now in that state-We feel the ‘burden of the Mystery,’”
To J. H. Reynolds, 3rd May, 1818.

Hope that at least this will intrigue you to look deeper into Endymion and Keats other work, especially his amazing letters.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby greymouse » Sun Jul 23, 2006 6:52 pm

I enjoy the passage in Book I, lines 232-306 that is referred to as the "Hymn to Pan." It breaks up the monotony of the pentameter, and it is very evocative. When Keats writes about mythology, it feels like he was there experiencing it firsthand!

:?: I read somewhere that this type of invocation of a god (as a muse) is standard at the beginning of the classic epics, but I haven't really read any old classics other than Odyssey (translated of course). Is there significance in which god is called upon? I mean, is it arbitrary or is the poet supposed to choose a god based on certain aims of the work?
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Postby dks » Sun Jul 23, 2006 8:31 pm

Each Muse signifies a different area of study or a different art, if you will. For instance, Calliope is the patron Muse of epic poetry, while Clio is the Muse of history, and patron Muse of heroic poetry, and so on and so forth...there are nine who represent different aspects of lyrical expression (song, memory, practice, love, passion, invention, etc.) Many poets have invoked others besides the epic Muse Calliope and Spenser certainly did for his Faerie Queen.

They are quite lovely ladies--you can find them anywhere online with their respective emblems of interest and signification explained and expounded upon...I love them...they're very enigmatic and completely Greek in substantive, statuesque mysteriousness. :wink:
"I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the Truth of Imagination."
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Postby greymouse » Tue Jul 25, 2006 5:00 pm

Thanks dks for helping me sort it out. I looked up the muses, and I have a much better idea of how that all works now. :)
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Postby dks » Wed Jul 26, 2006 6:50 am

greymouse wrote:Thanks dks for helping me sort it out. I looked up the muses, and I have a much better idea of how that all works now. :)


Oh, happy to offer my opinings and thoughts, greymouse. :wink:
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