The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

Citation of Books Detail

Click here to return to the main list

Author QuotedJohn Keats
Title QuotedEve of St. Agnes
Date (Year/Month/Day)1941/10/10
Imprint[S.l.] : [s.n.]. 1820
QuotationKeats takes the content of his imagination and builds a fairy palace and invites himself to a poor substitute for a physical feast in this unreal palace. Keats describes what is unreal, Coleridge what is real. (Keats' experience is usually unreal, because at one remove from reality, but Coleridge's experience is real because of the complete integration between the poem itself and his imagination.) His poem is the world in his mind. Keats takes what is in his mind and uses it to build an unreal world for his poem. The Ancient Mariner is thoroughly well geared to Coleridge's imagination because it is his own experience retold as a myth. The Eve of Saint Agnes represents not a myth for a real psychological experience but a daydream of some physical experience that Keats never had, and is therefore unreal.
Quotation SourceRun to the mountain: The Story of a Vocation. The journals of Thomas Merton, Volume 1, 1939-1941.; Edited by Patrick Hart, O.C.S.O. / San Francisco : Harper Collins. 1995, p. 435
Letter to 
Link to Merton's Copy  

(If there is a link above showing up as a number, click it to open another window with a full text version.)