Word like a Bell: John Keats, Music and the Romantic Poet


"Music was supremely important to the Romantic poets, particularly to John Keats. In this first book-length study on the subject, John A. Minahan explores Keats's work in relation to the art of music. Word Like a Bell considers Keats's major poems as well as his letters and minor verse. Writing in a jargon-free style, Minahan examines the relationship between the musical and literary manifestations of Romantic theory, and the connection between that theory and Keats's work. He then offers new insights into Keats's poetry and his era, among them a detailed explanation of why the "Great Odes" ought to be considered a single extended piece. Also receiving extensive treatment are Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, whose ideas and creations illustrate how music influences every aspect of Romantic thought. In his exploration of the relationship between different but related arts, Minahan both locates Romanticism in its historical and aesthetic context and expands the capabilities of literary criticism. He finds that music enables Romanticism to voice its fundamental concern about time and its passage, and shows us that an understanding of poetry's relation to music can enrich our appreciation of both arts while deepening our own experiences of time. This interdisciplinary study will appeal to readers of poetry and literary criticism and to professional musicians who would increase their understanding of an age's art, songwriters interested in word/music relations, and poets who crave an extensive discussion of poetic technique and craft that uses music as a way to clarify such points." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Kent, OH
Publication year:
  • 1992


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