Keats and "Fancy"...

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

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Keats and "Fancy"...

Postby BrokenLyre » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:32 pm

Can anyone tell me the difference between "fancy" and "imagination" in Keats's day?

I have read scholars who insist there is a difference between the two. Others seem to coalesce the two into one notion. It's confusing. "The fancy cannot cheat so well, as she is famed to do" wrote Keats in Nightingale. Anyway, does anyone really know the difference - and what source can I go to that would help explain the difference? I am asking because I will be doing a 3 hour Keats Lecture (for friends) on June 1 and I'd like to nail this down.

THANKS!!
"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: Keats and "Fancy"...

Postby Cath » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:15 am

Didn't Coleridge write about this in Biographia Literaria? I think he had very complex explanations for a distinction between the two, though:
http://www.online-literature.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16344

I'd also be interested in what others can say on the difference in Keats's day.
"Why should we be owls, when we can be Eagles?" (Keats to Reynolds, 3 February 1818)
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Re: Keats and "Fancy"...

Postby Raphael » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:11 pm

Gosh, I am not sure from their viewpoint but as a "modern" person I would see it that fancy implies imagination that is perhaps a bit whimsical, fantastical ..something that one might get rather carried away with rather than imagination that can be of a more logical thing- which can lead to creation of art or scientific discovery. Fancy is never used really now except to describe one person's attraction to another.
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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