The Ironic Impulse in Keats: Three Poems

Geoffrey Little


Keats said of his struggle to turn the myth of Endymion and the moon to his own purposes, 'As I proceeded my steps were all uncertain'; and the poem showed 'inexperience, immaturity ... [adolescent] mawkishness'. Certainly the unquestioning confidence of the familiar Induction, that 'A thing of beauty is a joy forever ... ', as guaranteed by 'the moon, The passion poesy' (1,1, 28-9), is diminished as the poem proceeds. It is diminished, or reassessed, partly by the localized ironies which spring, sometimes oddly, out of the text, which exert a force upon further parts of the tale.

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