The Freaks of Imagination
The creative perceptions of an immortal imagination, according to the Naturphilosophen, engender the mortal realizations of beauty in nature. Vision of these natural beauties by a creative mind, according to the Keats of 1818, will engender an evolution of imagination and comprehensive advance in parallel stages of perceptual intensity. The would-be poet's projected tour of the North of England will be "a sort of Prologue to the Life I intend to pursue:" "I will clamber through the Clouds and exist. I will get such an accumulation of stupendous recollections that as I walk through the suburbs of London I may not see them -- I will stand upon Mount Blanc and remember this coming Summer when I intend to straddle ben Lomond -- with my Soul!" Stupendous recollections and perceptual anticipations of these memories will nurture the imaginative evolution of the poet and foster his future artistic creations. Keats acknowledges, furthermore, the multiple advances and false starts involved in every creative gesture: "I have ever been too sensible of the labyrinthian path to eminence in Art (judging from Poetry) ever to think I understood the emphasis of Painting," he says to Haydon in the same letter of April 1818. "The innumerable compositions and decompositions which take place between the intellect and its thousand materials before it arrives at that trembling delicate and snail-horn perception of Beauty -- I know not your many havens of intenseness -- nor ever can know them -- ." 1 The language of physical evolution and biological chemistry can thus chart the labyrinthine path to eminence in art taken by the creative imagination; it can delineate the innumerable perceptual actions that take place between the intellect and its materials, highlight the interstices and false starts between these actions, and mark the many havens of intenseness (or pain) reached and surpassed in the attainment of a particular "trembling delicate and snailhorn perception of Beauty."
False starts in the mortal realization of beauty, in nature as in mind, constitute important signposts in the evolutionary advance of each. They are the
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Publication information: Book title: Romantic Medicine and John Keats. Contributors: Hermione De Almeida - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1991. Page number: 264.
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