July 3, 2022

JUL 3, English literature survey course: "La Belle Dame sans Merci" (Keats' poem)

Authors' Note: 

rĂªverie (rehv-uh-REE): French for ‘dream, daydream’

grotesque: term adopted from French for an ancient Roman decorative artform rediscovered in Rome in the 15th century. Grotesques depict fantastical scenes and figures; the related adjective highlights the bizarre and even frightening nature of the images

grot: poetic variant of ‘grotto’ 

merci (mehr-SEE): French for mercy, forgiveness

   The usual critical view is that the protagonist of the poem, transfixed by the 'faery's child', has been trapped and victimized. However, Keats' description in his poem written in 1819 (but taking place in a mythical medieval past), leaves little doubt that the 'Belle Dame' is underage. The societal view of what constitutes child molestation / statutory rape seems to have changed over time.

You can review the entire curriculum for our 'English Classics Survey Course' at "Edifying Nonsense" by clicking HERE.


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