The Significance of Word-Painting in John Keats’ Poetry

Topics: John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Romanticism Pages: 2 (701 words) Published: October 31, 2012
The Significance of Word-Painting in John Keats’ Poetry

Word-painting as one of Keats’ unique techniques of creating poems, is an art form of creating pictures in words. Each word, like the strokes of a brush on a canvas, shape an image that talks to the eyes. Word-painting, of course, reflects a poet's attitude toward nature. Keats was not only the last but one of the sweetest romanticists. He was greatly affected by his solitude. Keats was mostly in the calm bosom of nature, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, it reveals the beauty of nature to him so that he is named as devotee of nature to beauty. His writings reflect some splendor of the natural world as he saw or dreamed it to be. Unlike William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Keats remained absolutely untouched by revolutionary theories for the regeneration of mankind. He endeavored to escape from reality in order to take refuge in the realm of imagination. This escape and remaining in imagination helped him to write uniquely. One of the very beautiful techniques used by him is his word-painting. Word-painting alternates between description and reflection in poetry, whereas in prose it alternates between description and narration.

Keats is one of the greatest word-painters in English poetry. Each picture that he gives is remarkable for its vividness and minuteness of details. His images are concrete and are impressed upon our minds. In the Ode to Autumn, for instance, autumn has been pictured in the concrete figures of the reaper, the winnower, the gleaner etc. The readers are aware that poetry and painting are two separate branches of art but in the case of Keats they are united. Even though Horace, the leading Roman lyric poet, was the first person who believed that “Poetry is like painting; one piece takes your fancy if you stand close to it, another if you keep at some distance” Keats makes it unique by using term of ekphrasis and...
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