10 September, 2009

Keats on Negative Capability

“. . . [S]everal things dovetailed in my mind, and at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature and which Shakespeare posessed [sic] so enormously—I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium [i.e., the vestibule or in-between space] of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge. This pursued through Volumes would perhaps take us no further than this, that with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration.”
(Italics mine)

1 comment:

Joe C. said...

Yes, Tess. One's knowledge can only go so far - and even this is a gift. And beauty can speak to the sensitive soul. The Good, the True, and the Beautiful. To which are you drawn the most? For Keats, it was Beauty. "A thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever..."