Negative Capability – a Romantic Concept

The Verse History Blog

In 1817, the term “Negative Capability” appeared for the first time in John Keats’s letters. [5, p.48]This became one of Keats’s most well-known poetic concepts. This blog will explore how Keats defined the poet’s relationship to truth and to the poetic subject. We will also see how this doctrine was based on accepting uncertainty without discarding intellect, an idea born of Keats’s Romanticism.


John Keats, Portrait by Joseph Severn in the National Portrait Gallery. Source.

  1. The Aim of Negative Capability
  2. How the Poet Should Create
  3. A Passive Poet and Their Subject
  4. Complex Mind and Simple Mind
  5. Unattainable
  6. The Link to Modernism

. . . Keats sought to reveal the truth in his words and convince the reader by evoking a strong emotional response to the aesthetics of the poem.

The Aim of Negative Capability

Keats wanted to create poetry that was emotionally intense, yet which embodied his…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

One reply on “Negative Capability – a Romantic Concept”

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