One of the interesting emphases in literature during this period is the importance of the individual, and with that focus in mind, the different ways the world is seen depends on the valuation of that individual. This concept extends past what we see as the “presented” world, the one beings present and perform in (“life’s a stage” and all), to the internal world. One of the great analogues I have found from class is in the discussion of M.H. Abrams’ book The Mirror and the Lamp: romantic theory and the critical tradition, in which literature prior to the Romantics functioned as ...
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...in the memory of his youthful visit. And in de Quincey, while we can recount strange dreams, and their impacts, we cannot enter into his visions the same way, as they always will be other experiences to us, no matter how similar of circumstances we may experience. In Keats’ urn however, there is no frame of reference – there is no truth, there is just an impression of a thing that is or is not in existence, and even though the impression existed only in Keats’ mind for all we know, the delivery of it as existing, and being of value for interpretation creates mystery in our mind, allowing us to fill in the blanks as to what any of it may mean. This is what I find the true illumination of the mysteries of memory and perception to be within these examples, and a fine way to bridge the gap between writers that seek to interpret the experience of “being in the world”.
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