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濟慈詩歌中作者對生死的態度

時間:2019-06-15 14:52作者:王麗璟
本文導讀:這是一篇關于濟慈詩歌中作者對生死的態度的文章,本文以新批評理論為基礎,通過對《埃爾金大理石雕像》、《秋頌》、《夜鶯頌》、《恩狄彌昂》等詩歌和濟慈書信集的文本細讀,在濟慈對死亡的態度和對現實生活的態度之間建立聯系,解析濟慈詩歌中對死亡的懼怕和對生活
  摘要
  
  濟慈的一生十分短暫卻又命運多舛,可他卻為世界留下瑰麗的詩作。尤其是他詩歌中對于現實生活的感受和對死亡的想象,一直都備受后人的關注。雖然對濟慈詩歌中生存與死亡的研究作品絡繹不絕,然而,從現象學角度探討濟慈詩歌中的生存觀和死亡觀的分析作品卻不太常見。本文借用了海德格爾現象學中“在世”的基本理念解釋濟慈詩歌中“死亡界限”與“向死而生”的觀點。
  
  本文以新批評理論為基礎,通過對《埃爾金大理石雕像》、《秋頌》、《夜鶯頌》、《恩狄彌昂》等詩歌和濟慈書信集的文本細讀,在濟慈對死亡的態度和對現實生活的態度之間建立聯系,解析濟慈詩歌中對死亡的懼怕和對生活消極的態度以及面對生死的超脫,珍惜當下生活的積極心態。濟慈在詩歌創作中呈現出這兩種復雜而矛盾的觀念,但在不同的詩歌里,濟慈選擇了不同的態度。本文試圖分析詩歌中詩人對生死的消極態度和積極態度,旨在為研究濟慈詩歌中所包含的生死觀提供新的視角。
  
  通過借用新批評理論和對濟慈詩歌的文本細讀,本文分析了濟慈詩歌中“死亡界限”的概念,主要以《秋頌》為例作詳細解析。在《秋頌》中,濟慈闡釋了死亡界限的理念。承認死亡對生命的威脅并不是為了讓人消極悲觀,而是提醒人類對如何生存進行思考,對待生命最好的態度,一種既不沉溺于過去,也不為還沒有到來的死亡所憂慮,而是對當下生活充滿珍惜的態度。促使人類達到生命最好的狀態。他的詩歌給了后人生活的啟示:人不能在應該體驗生活的時候選擇自我沉溺,而是要以開放的心態體驗生活的參差多樣。

濟慈詩歌中作者對生死的態度
  
  論文主體部分首先從濟慈的人生經歷和工作環境論述濟慈對死亡的恐懼心理和對生活的抑郁情緒。其次,著眼于濟慈選擇珍惜當下生活并關注生活中的美好事物,來論述濟慈積極的人生觀和面對死亡的超然心態。最后,分析詩人對真與美的理解,以此來論述雖然人類個體的生命短暫,但是人類卻用人性中的真與美創造了永恒流傳的藝術作品。藝術記載著歷史,記載著人性中的真與美在世間代代相傳。論文最后依據對濟慈的詩作分析得出結論:濟慈對生存與死亡的觀念存在著積極與消極兩種復雜的心態,這兩種心態伴隨著詩人的詩歌不斷交織出現。在一些詩歌中,詩人傾向于消極的態度,而在另一些詩歌中,詩人選擇了積極的態度。但是在濟慈的成熟之作中,濟慈較多的體現出積極的生活態度,他選擇向死而生,與生命和解,平靜而超然的看待生死。濟慈詩歌中的生死觀既是對生命的珍惜和贊美,又是對死亡的包容與接受。
  
  關鍵詞:  濟慈;生死觀;現象學;新批評理論。
  
  Abstract
  
  John Keats lived in an ill-fated and short life, but he created splendid poems that endure forever. His poetic creation has a significant impact on the literary circles for hundreds of years. The analyses of his poems are still unfailing after his death. Nevertheless, few articles have ever probed into the views of life and death in Keats’ poems from philosophical perspective. A tentative analysis of Keats’ views of life and death is made to study Keats’ poems. Furthermore, some of Keats’ ideas such as “boundary view”(Langer 78) and his insecurity of life are discussed by close reading his poems and letters. The thesis analyzes Keats’ positive attitude and negative attitude towards life and death in his works. Taking the example of Keats’poem To Autumn, this thesis further discusses Keats’ appreciation of life and his peaceful attitude towards death. He neither regretted for the lost time nor worried about the coming death. Instead, He cherished the present moment. Keats conveyed such a transcendental attitude towards life and death in this poem, which gave inspiration to generations after him. Besides, “The Elgin Marbles”, “Ode to a Nightingale”, “Endymion” and other poems have been analyzed through close reading for further illustrating the arguments. As is presented in the thesis, Keats’fear of death that appeared in his early years originated from his painful life experiences and his career in medicine. Keats’ poems present his complex emotion of life and death. When he is tired of the reality, he expresses his negative attitudestowards life in his poems. When he is in positive attitudes, his poems praise the truth and the beauty in life. In his mature works, Keats conveys the tranquil mood in his poems. Indeed, the thesis attempts to offer a new perspective for the interpretation of the view towards life and death contained in Keats’poems.
  
  The main body of the thesis expands on the miserable life experiences of John Keats. It is regarded as the origin of Keats’ negative attitude towards death and life. After that, by discussing Keats’ detachment from his real life, the thesis elaborates on his gradually mature attitude towards life and his transcendent view of death.Finally, the thesis dilates on Keats’ pursuit towards the beauty and truth in human nature. The poet expresses his praise for human solicitude by creating poems.Poems, as the form of the artwork, spread perpetually in the world. People create artworks to express truth, kindness and beauty in human nature. The artwork spread for generations beyond the limit of individual’s life. The conclusion can be drawn based on the analysis of Keats’ poems. Keats holds both positive and negative attitudes towards life and death. Woven with these two complex attitudes, Keats’poems resonate so powerfully. Keats view of death in his poems not only conveys his treasure of life but also expresses his reconciliation and tolerance to death.
  
  Keywords:    John Keats; view of life and death; New Criticism。
  
  Introduction
  
  John Keats (1795-1821) is a British Romantic poet. He was one of the main poets of the second generation of Romantic poets. He enjoyed a reputation as great as Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Keats wrote five long poems in his life:“Endymion”, “Isabella”, “The Eve of St. Agnes”, “Lamia” and “Hyperion”. Besides these five long poems, he also wrote some famous short poems, such as “To Autumn”, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, and “Ode to a Nightingale”, etc. His works evoke the feeling of death that can be discovered in most of his poems, such as “Endymion”, “Lamia”, “Ode to Autumn”, and “Ode to a Nightingale” and so on.
  
  The idea of death in his poems can be attributed to his life experience. Keats was familiar with death since he was a child. When he was young, he witnessed his parents’ death. Later, his guardian apprenticed him to a surgeon in St. Thomas’Hospital. Such medical training experience influenced Keats’ view of death deeply.His poems reflect deep influence of these experiences on him, which the view of death is ubiquitous in his poems.
  
  Moreover, Keats’ poems not only convey the idea of death, but also express the sense of life. People feel alive through sensation. The feeling for the human beings and things are the evidences of living in the world. His letter to Benjamin Bailey can prove this view. In the letter, he wrote, “However it may be, O for a Life of Sensation rather than of Thoughts!” (Keats 201). Keats emphasized that the sense of life comes from the perception of the world. He also proclaimed his idea in poems.
  
  For example, in “To Autumn”, the lost spring echoes the pass of life. The harvest and the beautiful scenery represent the pleasant time in life. Furthermore, Keats alsoportrayed living moments based on omnipresent death. The foreshadowing of death suggests the passed time is the loss of life. Therefore, how to live well every day is thought-provoking. In the poems, Keats’ objective feeling of life and death suggests that life is transient, so indulging in the present situation is unwise. Bearing love in heart and discovering the beauty in life is the sensible attitude.
  
  This thesis discusses John Keats’ view of life and death in his poems. A close reading of Keats’ poems will find that the meditation on life and death is one of the most important themes in his poetic creation. Keats’ view of life and death that transforms with his life experiences is reflected in his poems and letters. His notion of life and death can be divided into three stages, namely, his negative attitude towards life, his notion of living towards death, and his notion of living after death.
  
  These three stages imply Keats’ negative attitudes and positive attitudes towards life and death. Keats’ negative attitude towards death is related to his life experiences.
  
  The witness of the relatives’ death traumatized Keats, and such anguished experiences caused his fear of mortality.Besides, his medical profession influences his view of illness and death, which also provokes his detachment from real life. Surrounded by blood, sickness, and death, he felt even gloomier. Thus, he tended to get rid of the troublesome circumstances. More precisely, the detachment reflects Keats evasive attitude towards the real life. Yet, such state of mind is not the study object in this thesis.
  
  The thesis will focus on the interpretation of his sense of detachment in the poems. In some poems, Keats expresses his peaceful mood and his love of life. For example, the idea of living-toward-death signifies Keats’ transcendence towards death. In order to illuminate the view of living-toward-death profoundly, Keats’death-bound life attitudes and his idea of ever-present death in life are further analyzed on the basis of the text analysis of Keats’poems and letters.
  
  Indeed, “living-toward-death” signifies the poet’s positive attitude towards life.Keats cherished his life, and he was devoted to searching beauty in his life. Keats’poems convey his belief of the human solicitude. For Keats, self-indulgence is the source of pain, while warm heart, truth, goodness and beauty in human nature create meaningful life. Therefore, Keats’ poems appeal to people for the truth and beauty in human nature. The author of the present thesis discusses the argument that truth and beauty come from human’s sensation of life. Beauty is man’s aesthetic experience in his mind and truth is related to man’s emotion and personality. Beauty and truth reflect the bright side of human nature. According to Keats’ view, truth and beauty are grasped by one’s imagination. People achieve truth and beauty through personal life experiences. A warm heart serves as a precondition to discover the beauty. The faith of life arouses the truth and goodness in human nature. Apart from the humane solicitude and the truth beauty in human nature, the immortality of Keats’poems has also been discussed in the thesis. The influence of Keats’ thoughts on the descendants has been further analyzed. Moreover, Keats’ immortal idea has been analyzed, with an insight into the poem “Ode to a Nightingale”.
  
  In terms of the reviews of Keats’ poems, scholars approach Keats’ poetic thought from diversified aspects. The traditional study on John Keats’ poems begins from Stuart M. Sperry, the author of Keats the Poet. He probes into Keats’ poems from the aspect of traditional criticism. Marjorie Levinson and Nicholas Roe’s studies mark the turning point of the traditional studies on Keats’ poems. Marjorie Levinson studies Keats’ poems from the perspectives of materialism and psychoanalysis in his work “Keats’ Life of Allegory: The Origins of a Study”. And Nicholas Roe’s work Keats and the Culture of Dissent is on the base of historicism.
  
  These two scholars introduce the method of interdisciplinary research. The modern studies on Keats’ poems start from John Whale and Richard Marggraf Turley. Both researchers explore gender and sexuality in Keats’ poems. In the work Keats: Critical Issues, John Whale inquiries into the feminized characters existing in Keats’ poems. In the work Keats’ Boyish Imagination, Marggraf Turley researches Keats’ immature personality in poems.
  
  The study perspectives of Keats’ poems mainly cover his ideas in poems, the society he lived in, his personality, etc. Some critics take to study Keats’ poems from philosophical perspectives, for example, Paul Hamilton’s essay “Keats and Critique”. Although this essay offers only a glimpse of Keats’ philosophical idea in his poems, it opens a new vista of the study perspective. It gives a new thought for combining poems study with philosophical theory. Shahidha K. Bari presents a new illumination of Keats’ poems in light of philosophical analysis in Keats and Philosophy. In the book, Bari explores the Keats’ sensation of life and the supernatural feeling of nature in light of Nancy Jean-Luc’s theory “sense of the world” (Clifford 409). Bari regards that Keats’ feeling of the world is beyond sensory organs. The feeling of the objects influences people’s minds and cultivates their feeling for life. Bari illustrates Keats’ abstract feeling of life on the basis of Nancy’s theory of “Reaching-to-touch and trying-to-know” (Clifford 34).
  
  Furthermore, the idea of death has been studied in the article “Keats’ Death: Towards a Posthumous Poetics” written by Brendan Corcoran. This article illustrates Keats’ “idea of death” (Harrison 48) from the perspective of “poetic representation” (Harrison 48). Corcoran analyzes Keats’ idea of death in the context of his poems, considering death as a theme in the poems. The article explores the poetic representation of death in Keats’ poems. Joseph Servern raises his opinion that Keats soothes himself by the idea of death in his letter “Keats desires his death.
  
  Keats idea of death seems his only comfort and the only prospect of ease. He talks of it with delight. It soothes his present torture”(Severn 23). Severn maintains thatKeats is eager for death in order to get rid of “present torture”. While, the author considers that Keats’ desire of death might appear in a certain period but it does notrepresent Keats’ general view of life and death. His view transformed with the accumulation of his life experience.
  
  This thesis analyzes John Keats’ poems based on the theory of New Criticism. In the present century, literary criticism has become a major intellectual discipline. Its flourishing condition is largely the result of the developments in the modern arts and the social sciences. During the past fifty years, literary critics have been especially conscious of the interaction between past and present, between the principles of continuity and innovation. In the eighteenth century, Dr. Samuel Johnson’s critical judgments were based on an examination of literary texts. His work “Life of Cowley” analyzes the techniques of the metaphysical poets. It is valuable for our own time. Samuel Taylor Coleridge raises his opinion in Biographia Literaria. He discusses “the creative imagination and the poem are the utterance of the whole soul of man” (Coleridge 1817). Coleridge’s “whole soul of man” supplied the foundation for the American New Criticism. As a forerunner of the new critics, Edgar Allan Poe stresses the suggestive and musical qualities of poetry as an art concerned with beauty and feeling rather than with thought or morality in his essay “The Poetic Principle” (Poe 1850). His arguments influenced twentieth-century ideas of criticism.
  
  American New Criticism emerges in the 1920s. It is clearly characterized in premise and practice. It is concerned with the text in itself, with its language and organization. It is concerned to trace how the parts of the text relate, how it achieves its order and harmony. An early founding essay in self-identification of New Criticism is John Crowe Ransom’s “Criticism” (Ransom 1937). He lays down the ground rules in this book “criticism should become more scientific, or precise and systematic. Criticism is not ethical, linguistic or historical studies; the critic should be able to exhibit not the prose core to which a poem may be reduced but the differentia residue or tissue, which keeps the object poetical or entire. The character of the poem resides for the good critic in its way of exhibiting the residuary quality.” (Ransom 39).
  
  As New Criticism is defined as praxis, much of its theory occurs along the way in more specifically practical essays and not as theoretical writing. But there are two New Critical essays in particular which are overtly theoretical and which have become influential texts more generally in modern critical discourse: “The Intentional Fallacy” and “The Affective Fallacy” written by W. K. Wimsatt, a professor of English at Yale University. The first essay argues that the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art. In the essay, the author writes, “Apoem goes about the world beyond the author’s power to intend about it or control it. It belongs to the public; that it should be understood in terms of the dramatic speaker of the text, not the author. It is judged only by whether it works or not.” (Wimsatt 87). But for the New Critics still basically insist that there is a determinate, ontologically stable poem itself, which is the ultimate arbiter of its own statement, and that an objective criticism is possible.
  
  【由于本篇文章為碩士論文,如需全文請點擊底部下載全文鏈接】
 
  
  Chapter One Negative Attitude Towards Death and Life

  
  1.1 Attitude From Life Experience
  1.2 Melancholy and Detachment in Endymion and I Stood Tip-toe
  1.3 The Painful Feeling in On Seeing The Elgin Marbles and When
  
  I Have Fears I May Cease to be
  
  Chapter Two Living Towards Death
  

  2.1 Transcendency in The Fall of Hyperion and After Dark Vapours
  2.2 Peaceful Mind in To Autumn
  2.3 Tranquil Mood in Ode to a Nightingale
  
  Chapter Three Living After Death
  
  3.1 The Pursuit of Humane Solicitude in Endymion and Ode to Psyche
  3.2 The Meaning of Beauty and Truth in Ode on a Grecian Urn
  3.3 The Circulation of Immortal Poems

  Conclusion

  This thesis discusses John Keats’ developing view of life and death. His perception is changing congruously with his life experiences and his minds. He feared death in his early years, which is caused by his father’s death. His dread comes from the human instinct. Indeed, as an apothem-surgeon, his daily life was surrounded by blood, sickness and death. Such painful working environment strengthened the fear of death in his heart. Even worse, the dreadful emotion mutated into his mental weakness in front of life and death, which then eroded into his life attitude. He fell into melancholy.

  In addition, Keats holds both positive attitudes and negative attitudes towards life Keats expresses the complicated emotions in his poems. Therefore, in some of his poems, readers can discover that Keats detached himself from pain and death in his life. He escapes from real life and lives in his imaginative world. While, Keats also has open mind and it helps him achieve the tranquil mood when he faces life and death. It prevents him from indulging in self-emotions. His positive attitudes can be found in his poems. The idea of death in Keats’works is not in the service of death but of life. Life is transient, so the living moments are precious.

  Self-absorption wastes life while experiencing the variety treasures life. Bearing death in minds, the attitude of living-toward-death was shaped in Keats’ mind. He cherishes beautiful moments in his life, because they are transient. Meanwhile, he faced the sufferings in life peacefully because he believed that they were temporary, either and death would terminate all the things in his life. Keats had a tenacious personality. Although he was mentally fragile at first, he discovered a way of self-emancipation rather than having a nervous breakdown. His courage of life is worthy of admiration. Keats chose to broaden his horizon and discover the beautiful things in the world. The exploration of the beautiful things in world marks the turning point of his negative attitude. It endows Keats with encouragement to confront the painful real life and death. Keats’ transcendental attitude towards life and death in his poems gives inspiration of life to generations after him.

  Bibliography

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