Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

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Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:21 pm

I wasn't sure if this is the right section to post this...if it isn't oops sorry!

I found these articles really interesting. The first one has a view of The Fall of Hyperion which I agree with. I read this ( The Fall of Hyperion) for the first time last week and was stunned- it moved me in a way I can hardly explain- I'll have to read it again and again until i can find the words. It touched my soul.
I agree with the author who sees something Gnostic, almost shamanic and visionary in John's poems.

http://www.jungcircle.com/path.html

The second article goes more deeply into the view that John was Gnostic in his spiritual expression:

http://jungcircle.com/sparks.html

I had noticed that some of his poems and theories in his letters had some Gnostic flavour to them.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby keatsclose » Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:54 pm

THANKS for this!

Keats is often decribed by critics and biographers as a 'pagan' - and he was one, then, in a very different sense.
Is there any evidence of a belief in reincarnation, I wonder.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:40 pm

keatsclose wrote:THANKS for this!

Keats is often decribed by critics and biographers as a 'pagan' - and he was one, then, in a very different sense.
Is there any evidence of a belief in reincarnation, I wonder.



Hello keatsclose- glad you liked them! I think John certainly had a connection with Apollo and experienced a deep connection with nature. He also was a bit Gnostic.

As for reincarnation- I will risk seeming crazy- but I do believe in it; I also believe in an afterlife, the two are not in conflict with each other. As for evidence- I've read enough accounts of children being able to give parents detailed accounts of past lives that documented records back up and even being able to speak foreign languages at the age of three that they were not exposed to on a daily basis. Some mediums, shamans and pagans can contact the spirit world and bring back very accurate information that they could never have known.

Quantuum physics shows that there are many dimensions of existence- I like to think our dear John Keats is living on in one of them now.

Have you read his Vale of Soul making? I was blown away when I first read that.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby keatsclose » Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:13 pm

Thanks, Raphael. Long believed in reincarnation myself - seems to make such a lot of sense.
No, only come across 'Vale' in one of the biogs, and I'd beinterested to read JK on it.
In the Letters, perhaps? I've only got the Monckton Milnes selection.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Wed Dec 23, 2009 4:45 pm

keatsclose wrote:Thanks, Raphael. Long believed in reincarnation myself - seems to make such a lot of sense.
No, only come across 'Vale' in one of the biogs, and I'd beinterested to read JK on it.
In the Letters, perhaps? I've only got the Monckton Milnes selection.


Yes the Vale of Soul Making is in a letter (to Bailey I think it is) and is in the Grant edition. You will love reading it. Have you read what he says about the Mansions?

I have read many many accounts of childrens' memories of past lives which can be backed up by facts- I'm convinced of it myself, though I don't think one has to get reincarnated every time..
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:43 pm

Hello there Peter- thanks for your thoughtful replies.

Ultimately, I think I'm marooned somewhere between what Roberts' calls literary reductionism and my own need for critical progressivism - and I'm stumped.


I will do a Junkets ( and be totally honest)- I don't know what "reductionism" is- I'm a very simple soul ( you wouldn't believe I have a bachelor's degree in English and Archaeology... :lol: ) and I'm not into terminlogy, pyschological language at all, so tend to avoid reading what are to me such heavy interpretations. I'm not disparaging those who do, for we all have our own ways to read poetry/literature but for me it's how John's poetry makes me feel..what I see when reading it...what he tells me....
I love the bits in his letters- his "axioms" of poetry- sensations..leaving the reader breathless- i feel he was trying to reach people's souls.. Well he's certainly reached mine- I feel a kindred spirit in him, one to whom I could have related my deepest spiritual experiences to and be understood. The bit in his letter to Bailey when he talks about taking part in a bird's existence gave me shivers when I first read it- as I have experienced something similar a few years ago.


I think I can see that shamanic aspect that you enjoy so much in Junkets' work now: this hadn't occurred to me at all before.



I think there is a heck of a lot of it in his work.I'm studying shamanism, so I tend to notice when it crops up in unexpected places. :D


I can't free myself of the idea that although Keats was preoccupied with an aesthetic idealism early on in his work, there exists an unremitting debate early on too - a simultaneous desire for visionary flight and doubt as to the ultimate value of such flight. I think in "Endymion" one can begin to apprehend what Lionel Trilling calls the "full complication of that dialectic of pleasure". Junkets seems to be moving towards a reconciliation of what for me still represents two contradictory realms (transcendent vision and transient human existence) in, say, "Ode to a Nightingale".



Yes, I see that. I think he was also trying to reconcile that physical life= suffering ( not all the time but it is inescapable). He notices that nature both creates and destroys, is both cruel and kind- these are issues that often cause a spiritual crisis, what us pagans call The Dark Night of the Soul. I think Junkets was having one at times.


Am I right in saying that for you, Raphael, you now trace a shamanic / Gnostic thread in almost all of his poetry? Because if you do I can see your argument - unfortunately!



Yes! Almost all are the correct words- it isn't in his amusing ones like Modern Love or Wine Women and Snuff, but most of his poems reveal a spiritual searcher, reveal how connected to the landscape he was. The scenes of flight/flying are a common shamanic theme. In The Fall of Hyperion he enters a visionary state and goes on an inner Journey where he meets the gods and seeks knowledge.This is a very common shamanic/pagan practise. He dreamt about flying ( the famous Dante dream he had). I think he had some very mystical experiences.



That mystic quality is there, and is not lost, by the time Keats wrote "The Fall of Hyperion"; with luck it was integrated into a system that may have attested to a growing psychic health.



If only he had finished the Fall of Hyperion- that is a work of sheer genius! he was no ordinary young man- the insights he had are staggering. He was an "old soul" for sure!



I'll leave the last words to Junkets, from his letter to John Hamilton Reynolds of 12th July 1819, written, I think, at about the time he started to compose "The Fall of Hyperion": "I have of late been moulting: not for fresh feathers and wings: they are gone, and in their stead I hope to have a pair of patient sublunary legs."



May he fly free now! :D


Just a quick PS Raphael. In "The Fall of Hyperion" the reader witnesses what Morris Dickstein calls "a massive attempt" on Keats' part to engage with 'the agonies' and 'the strife' of an authentic life, lived in a real world of suffering and death. I think it is in this work that Keats' narrator appears to have evoked a response from Moneta that embraces a degree of uncertainty; here we notice the birth of what Bloom calls "Keats's dialectical victory". Now Keats writes: "Apollo! Faded, far-flown Apollo!/Where is thy misty pestilence to creep/Into the dwellings, through the door crannies,/Of all mock lyrists, large self worshipers,/And careless hectorers in proud bad verse./Though I breathe death with them it will be life/To see them sprawl before me into graves." Wow. Junkets isn't taking any prisoners here (Wordsworth of course). And Byron and Shelley, I'm glad to say (egotistical sublime).

Peter


Well, even the gods can suffer- though usually much less than those of humanity- that's something that all the tales of the gods tell us. Life is Paradox- which Junkets knew deep down... :wink:
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Tue Jan 12, 2010 3:03 pm

Do you mean your friend didn't like Pater?
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby keatsclose » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:51 am

Just come across a piece by Madeline Clark, from Sunrise, a Theosophical magazine, called, I think, The Wisdom of John Keats.
It seems to sum things up quite well. Found it by googling 'The Vale of Soul-Making'.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:06 pm

Unfortunately he didn't Raphael. However, this has just reminded me of the incident when Wilde was said to have 'chanted' Pater's very purple passage on the Mona Lisa in his (Pater's) essay on Leonardo, as he stood gazing at the painting! My friend and supervisor believed Pater had a negative effect on Wilde and that this led to a squandering of the latter's talents. I can't comment because I genuinely don't know a lot about Wilde (I do know there was a certain distancing on Wilde's part in a letter I read some time ago regarding Pater's "Marius the Epicurean").


I know a little bit about Oscar, but not whether Walter Pater was a bad influence.

I would like to read "The Picture of Dorian Gray" one day - another for the list. Mum told me there was a film version, from the 40s I think, apparently very good, with a fellow called Hurd Hadfield(?) possibly playing the lead.



Now- you need to see the new version that came out last year with Ben Barnes as Dorian- it was brilliant. Look at the trailer on you tube. It will be available on DVD soon. The old film is quite god- but the new one is way better! I think you'd like the novel- you can see the Pater influences.Also La Rebour.But back to our dear Junkets- some people see him as one of the antecedents to the Asethetic Movement- but I think not.


I'm not trying to be clever here - and that goes for whoever might read this - but I took your advice last night and read how you read. I reread "I stood tip-toe..." and I started seeing things! Not quite in glorious technicolour, but I was seeing something akin to what Keats had written - until my concentration was disturbed two thirds of the way through. But I really did dispense with all that theoretical tripe and enjoyed the poem. Thank you Raphael.



I think that's how John wanted people to read his poems- he didn't like what he called "literary chit chat"- poetry for him was a more spiritual thing.



PS Did Junkets ever write in his letters about enjoying the sensation of snow? I had to travel to Salford today and as I was trying to admire the Lancashire hills at 80mph I thought of him - indeed myself - rolling down those hills. It brought a smile.



Not in any letters I've read no. I get the impression he hated the winter ( like me ha ha).


Best wishes to you too. :D
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:27 pm

keatsclose wrote:Just come across a piece by Madeline Clark, from Sunrise, a Theosophical magazine, called, I think, The Wisdom of John Keats.
It seems to sum things up quite well. Found it by googling 'The Vale of Soul-Making'.


Thanks for this keatsclose! I have found the link:

http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/arts/ar-mclk7.htm

I have printed it out to read at my leisure at home with cup of coffee and Bright Star CD on whilst my dinner cooks! :D
I'll get back to you on my review of it tommorrow.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Raphael » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:20 pm

Hi Raphael. I can understand Keith's distress at Pater's influence on Wilde - Keith is a Catholic, and when your metaphysics/ethics are such. But there was a moral function to Pater's aesthetic.


Hello Peter! I think I prefer John Ruskin's aesthetics from what little I know about them as yet.


I watched the new "Dorian" trailer on youtube, set in our day, but there's also a very recent release set in the nineteenth century, and I watched that trailer too. I think both versions have the actor Colin Firth in some role, but this just might be confusion on my part here - there seems to have been so many adaptations down the years.


No- there's only the one made last year with Ben Barnes and Colin Firth. Both are brilliant.


I'd still love to see the old one though, it had that old reprobate George Sanders in it. I was enjoying a clip from the beginning where Gray was becoming very interested in Sanders' character's aesthetic when the ruddy link broke down and I couldn't get the damned thing :x back.


That will prob be on DVD too. Sanders was a character allright- did you know that he killed himself cos he was bored of life?


On the subject of youtube, have you heard the old actor Robert Donat's reading of "Ode to a Nightingale" - it's there, and I must admit I liked it. If you listen carefully, with the sound turned up, you can just hear him turn a page! I wonder whether Junkets would have liked it. And of course, Donat was born in Withington, Manchester. (My dad used to work at Withington Library.)


No, I'll look for it next time- the library is closing soon, so that's me done online til Monday. :(
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby Cybele » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:34 am

In the article "The Wisdom of John Keats," there was the sentence, "The brilliant sallies of wit in his letters are, however, hardly more than sunny sparkles on the surface of the deep-flowing stream of his life," really struck me.

There is such wonderful playfulness in the letters that it sometimes obscures the Keats's genius combined with his precocious wisdom.

Thank you for posting the link!!
"The philosopher proves that the philosopher exists. The poet merely enjoys existence."
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby keatsclose » Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:08 am

Hi, [banned member] - what interesting material. And I'll certainly look into The Rescue of Romanticism.

My thoughts on Theosophy? It's a fairly broad term, it seems to me, and one I don't feel qualified to discuss.
I was intrigued to come across a Theosophist devoting an impassioned - an excellent- article to the subject.

I'm only just beginning to see the connections between JK's beliefs and what might be termed unorthodox spirituality,
having studied his poetry at a Catholic school where this dimension of his work was completely ignored. Though having
said that, I doubt that I was ready then to receive this wisdom for which he had paid such a price.

Also, the link with tuberculosis and the toll it can take on the mind interests: I've come to understand more about my
family's TB-riddled history, particularly from the Gittings biography. The Nightingale Ode always had a resonance.
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby BrokenLyre » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:56 am

It's late, I'm tired of my 13 hour day... but I just have to say....I have been thinking about this for a while. We all love John Keats and his work (I think). And that means we're all skewed when it comes to any analysis on what John would do, or say, or believe, or like, or eat, or read, or listen to if he were here today. There is a great temptation to believe that John would really like my thoughts or hobbies, or ideas, or music, or whatever is dear to me. That's natural I'm sure. Wouldn't we all like John to set his approbation on our personal tastes, beliefs, thoughts, etc.... I think in reading many threads about this topic, it would be a good thing to pause and be more objective about Keats. We all want to secure John in "our corners" and think he favors our views - whether religion, food, clothing, etc...We all want to feel he would be with us in our peculiarities.

But I doubt it. Keats was not a Theosophist (it didn't exist in his day....it wasn't truly founded until 1875.) Yes, there are connections with Keats' thinking that overlap with Theosophy. But there are connections with Keats and deism or Keats and atheism, or Keats and evangelical and reformed Christianity too (see his letters to his sister about the Catechism!). But he was none of these. In fact, he was reading Jeremy Taylor's "On Holy Living and Holy Dying" (combining "The Rules and Exercises of Holy Living, 1650 and The Rules and Exercises of Holy Dying, 1651") while in Rome. What does that imply? Who knows. But the fact is he was reading it. Here is a fascinating excerpt that Keats most likely read:

"As our life is very short, so it is very miserable; and therefore it is well that it is short. God, in pity to mankind, lest his burden should be insupportable and his nature an intolerable load, hath reduced our state of misery to an abbreviature; and the greater our misery is, the less while it is like to last; the sorrows of a man's spirit being like ponderous weights, which by the greatness of their burden make a swifter motion, and descend into the grave to rest and ease our wearied limbs; for then only we shall sleep quietly, when those fetters are knocked off, which not only bound our souls in prison, but also ate the flesh till the very bones opened the secret garments of their cartilages, discovering their nakedness and sorrow."

Perhaps we could be more cautious about "reading into Keats" our own likes or values (a form of eisegesis). Maybe we could be more focused on exegesis of his work (reading out of his work). I think this makes for clearer reflection. Otherwise I just see myself in John (e.g. I like Chuck Mangione's music, and so would John :) ).

Now having said that, I do feel deep connection with John. Not sure why actually, but it's there. So I am reminding myself of these things - and I do really enjoy it when those on the forum pose questions and give thoughtful answers that are more objective (tho obviously nobody is truly objective). It makes for interesting discussion I think. It makes me think and enjoy this wonderful man - a friend to us all in some way.

Forgive me if I offend anyone here tonight... I'm just tired and blunt, so I couldn't write as clearly as wish. But you're my friends... so there you have it.

Peace to all
"Come... dry your eyes, for you are life, rarer than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly. Dry your eyes... and let's go home."
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Re: Articles on Negative Capability and John's spirituality

Postby keatsclose » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:49 pm

The fact that a writer in a Theosophical magazine expresses their regard for Keats is marginal to the discussions here, I agree - and, yes, of course the Theosophical movement didn't get going till much later in the century (though Swedenborg, who influenced many early C19 writers, might be considered some kind of link). However it's a well written piece, come upon by chance, which could be regarded as having something valid to say even to those of us who are more familiar with Christian or other more orthodox ideas.

Coming across mention of JK's final reading in the biographies naturally leads to speculation about our poet's last thoughts, and also perhaps to consider reading Taylor (who, I imagine, is dealt with quite fully in the new biography of Severn). Those lines of his seem cold comfort - though they are just an extract. But then Buddhist statements, for example, often strike one as chilly in their detachment. We must hope Keats passed on knowing that his life held a place in the greater scheme of things.

And we sense that he did.
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