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The Reverse Side Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Reverse Side.
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Negative Capability

Dunn does not refer in "The Reverse Side" to the English poet John Keats (1795—1821) or Keats's concept of "Negative Capability," which Keats outlined in a famous 1817 letter to his brothers. But Dunn's poem is unquestionably concerned with the idea of Negative Capability, and Dunn proved he was well acquainted with the concept when, in a 1996 New Letters on the Air radio interview with Angela Elam, he said

[W]hen I was younger, as most people are when they're younger, I needed certainties, or I craved certainties, maybe because you just live a life that's full of ambivalences, which I still do. But now I'm much more happy in the "Negative Capability" sense. . . . Keats praised Shakespeare for his "Negative Capability," that he was at home with doubts and uncertainties, and I'm increasingly at home with doubts and uncertainties.

The passage in Keats's letter that Dunn refers to...

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This section contains 805 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Reverse Side Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
The Reverse Side from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.