Keats and eternity

Course Dates: 19/05/24
Time: 11:00 - 16:00
Location: Off Site
In the house where many of them were written, we will explore why Keats’s poems are regarded as exceptionally beautiful. How did he achieve this? We will see that it wasn’t luck or simply inspiration, but the result of choices which reflect important aspects of Keats’ personality. Includes ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, Ode to a Grecian Urn’ and ‘To Autumn’.

This course will take place at Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR.
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In stock
Full fee £49.00 Senior fee £39.00 Concession £32.00

Course Code: HLT288

Sun, day, 19 May - 19 May '24

Duration: 1 session

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What is the course about?

We will read and discuss some of the Odes, sonnets and other poems, and some extracts from Keats’ letters. We will explore how Keats set out to write poems which create a sense of eternity by reaching out in time (Grecian Urn) or space (Chapman’s Homer) or relating poetry to music (Nightingale), the processes of nature (Autumn) and the rich traditions of the English language (all).

What will we cover?

We will discuss why so many of Keats' longer poems focus on Classical or Romantic myths and legends, and how these are used to express sexual desire in acceptable ways for the time. Overall, we will consider how his mature poems, written in the house where the course is held, reflect Keats’ awareness of the impermanence of life, including his own, and his wish for lasting fame.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Better understand why many of Keats’ poems are regarded as exceptionally beautiful
• Understand how and why Keats achieved this
• Enjoy reading and discussing some very fine poems.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You will be interested in poetry and in Keats. No particular knowledge or skills are needed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The session is run in a seminar style with all students invited to read poems if they wish and take part in discussions led by the tutor. You will receive the materials several days beforehand so you can read them and be ready to discuss them.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No, photocopies of the poems will be provided at the beginning of the session.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Look for other poetry courses in our literature programme under History, Culture and Writing/Literature/Poetry at

Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith has taught poetry writing and literature courses at the City Lit for some years, focussing on modernism and writers' radicalism. He researches and lectures at King's College London, helped to found Magma poetry magazine which he sometimes edits and has been a Trustee of the Poetry Society.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.