death, emotion, Inside Out, John Keats, Literature, Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode to Psyche, pedagogy, Poetry, reflection, The Eve of St. Agnes, The North American Society for the Study of Romanticism
This essay was originally published on The North American Society for the Study of Romanticism’s blog. The full essay can be read on their home page by accessing the link at the end.
It’s nearing the end of the year, finals are over, papers are due, but we’re literature majors here so of course the only thing that matters is the symbolism of winter. The year is dying and ready to sleep forevermore bringing in its death a spark of new life, new possibilities, and the mass cultural/capitalistic orgy that is the Christmas season. Parting with the cynicism however I decided rather than construct coherent argument I would instead remember a moment from one of my Romanticism courses and muse on the experience.
You see last fall near the end of the semester my Professor, Dr. Catherine Ross, had us read several poems by John Keats. The class was around three hours so we had to fill up the time with discussion. We read the standards of course, The Eve of St. Agnes, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to Psyche, and To Autumn, but the poem that made the deepest impression upon me was Ode to a Nightingale.
Now anyone that knows me eventually learns that I’m an emotional man. Ever since I was five it was known that I was a crier to the point that the boys in my grade had abandoned any and all hope of picking on me because they were too afraid that they would make me cry and the girls and/or teachers would chastise them for it. As I’ve grown I’ve managed to develop the typical “masculine façade” in which emotion, apart from anger, is never demonstrated in public…but that’s all a lie and I cry because I’m sensitive. As such if a novel, poem, film, etc possesses a scene designed to inspire any kind of emotion I cry. Recently I saw the film Inside Out, the latest Pixar film, and as such I’ll be properly hydrated sometime by mid-march.
At this point the reader is wondering what my emotional state has to do with Romanticism. Well calm down I’m getting to it.
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