Ode on a Grecian Urn Essay

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In the following excerpt, Salle contends that "the Ode presents a retrospective of Keats's thought, submitting early belief_ to the test of mature reflections. "

A poem of symbolic debate which ends on an explicit abstract statement, the "Ode on a Grecian Urn" raises a special critical problem. The poem is at once too limited and too rich a context to define what Keats meant by "beauty" and "truth," abstractions with a wide range of possible references. Scrupulous readers, who take care- not to view the final aphorism in the light of their own preconceptions, who decline-in the interest of austere critical purity-the help which they might receive from Keats's other writings, run the risk of finding the Urn's message "meaningless," as T. S. Eliot illustrates by his famous throwing up of hands. A recent example may be found in John Jones's admirable book where the close of the...

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This section contains 3,321 words
(approx. 9 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Ode on a Grecian Urn Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Ode on a Grecian Urn from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.