S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) 영학논집(English Studies) 영학논집(English Studies) No.37 (2017)
키츠의 송시에 나타나는 목가적 세계와 수용의 미학: 「프시케에게 부치는 시」에서 「가을에게」로
Keats’s Pastoral World and the Aesthetics of Embracement in the Odes: From “Ode to Psyche” to “To Autumn”
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
- 영학논집, Vol.37, pp. 15-38
- John Keats; pastoral; ode; Ode to Psyche; Ode to a Nightingale; Ode on Indolence; To Autumn; negative capability; happiness; mortality
- This paper examines how Keats’s odes written in 1819 take the form of a pastoral to explore the possibilities and limits of happiness in the face of man’s fate, mortality. A pastoral originally meant a song celebrating the life of shepherds. After the demise of the traditional pastoral in the mideighteenth century, however, it went through fundamental transformations, one of which was that shepherds faded away from the pastoral landscape. Over the years, the specific elements of the pastoral have changed according to the context of an age or the interest of a poet. Nevertheless, the pastoral landscape still remains and functions as a place where the implications and potentials of a good life are explored, and thus the pastoral’s continued relevance to this day. The pastoral world in Keats’s odes stands on the belief that a happy life exists within the world where he lives, not outside. This attitude differs from the general romantic attitude that seeks the pastoral world or idyllic moment apart from the bitter reality of the historical world. The difference comes from the fact that Keats chooses and practices embracing rather than longing as his method of living his life as well as writing poetry. Keats calls this principle “negative capability.” Its key points are to negate reason or the self as the subject of critical thinking as offered by binary opposition and to embrace the world of experience without exception. This Keatsian acceptance thus creates a peculiar pastoral world where the aesthetic structure of the real world itself guarantees the realization of the ideals. His pastoral world abides in an esthetic category where the richness of the existing world is eminent even as the existing world is in harmony with the pursued world. This paper discusses “Ode to Psyche,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode on Indolence,” and “To Autumn” as milestones in the development of Keats’s pastoral. The paper follows a path from “Ode to Psyche,” in which Keats escapes the existing world to find happiness in a romantic pastoral world, to “To Autumn,” where he finds happiness and beauty in the existing world as it is. In the end, Keats comes to willingly accept man’s destined mortality, which he once regarded as an inevitable obstacle to happiness. The perfect unity between the existing world and the pursued world found in “To Autumn” warrants the poem as the culmination of his pastoral as well as his life.