Flashcards in On First Looking into Chapman's Homer Deck (10):
Who is Chapman? What was the result of his work
-Chapman was a poet, translator and playwrie who published complete translations of Homer's Illiad in 1611 and Odessey (1614-15)
-offered interpretations of Homer’s ethical and philosophical views in ways Chapman thought appropriate for his own age and opened up the classic to an entire class of the english pop.
Context relating to how keats wrote this sonnet
Keat and Clarke read Chapmans homer voraciously untill ^:00 am, after finishing the volume, Keats went straight home to compose Chapmans Homer which he sent to Clarke that same morning at 10:00am. Keats only made one alteration (low brow'd Homer became deep brow'd Homer)
Language and Tone
-first of Keats’ poems in which emotion is fully controlled and sustained throughout the verse
-openess of the vast sea conveyed through the assonance of long verb sounds 'wild' 'surmise' silent'
-clarity of what chapman told him, emphasised throgh the emphatic monosyllables with hard consonants
Imagery and Symbolism of On First looking into Chapman's Homer
-prevalence of a semantc field associated with exploration/ discovery-> this creates a sense of adventure amd heroism
explain the reference t a 'new planet' in line 10
the words echo the vivid description of Herschel’s discovery of the planet Uranus in John Bonnycastle’s Introduction to Astronomy given to Keats as a school prize in 1811
Attitudes towards exploration, colonisation and the British empire when Keats was writing
-16/17th cent characteristed by a quest to discover, claim, colonise the riches of new found lands
-many explores were driven by the vast wealth o new lands (e.g. seeking el dorado) and the wealth aquired by the empire through exploration was a source of pride
why is the extended metaphor of exploration important?
-'On first..' was widely perceived as being a monumental point i
Keats literary development. In this poem poetry is seen as the empire of the mind and imaginative conquest - through his discovery of Homer he has also discovered his true poetic self
Pope vs Chapmans translation of Homer
-most widely read version of Homer available to readers of Keats’ day had been Pope's translation was rational, orderly and controlled but lacked the raw power of the original Greek.
-Chapman's translation was more stylistically muscular and contrasted the elegantly balanced and controlled version of Pope.
Andrew Motion on this poem
this poem is about exclusion as well as inclusion. Its title suggests that Keats had come late to high culture (it is On First Looking). It draws attention to the fact that he could not read Homer in the original Greek. It mistakes Balboa…for Cortez, and so undermines its air of learning.’