This Living Hand Analysis

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According to Beth, besides its important role in the creative process, negative capability also had for both Keats and Austen a moral dimension, in that it allows individuals to overcome selfishness and experience compassion for others.Another name for this aspect of negative capability is the sympathetic imagination and the most influential proponents of this concept was Adam Smith. As James Engell notes, Smith clearly proposes that "sympathy is the basis of all moral thought and action, and the sole agency by which this sympathetic feeling operates is the imagination"(88). Engell also claims that Smith 's theory of moral sentiments "was hugely influential" and names William Hazlitt and Percy Bysshe Shelley Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Keats…show more content…
Actually, “This living hand” is not only Keats betrayed the cruel and even aggressive side of his mind but it has another point of union with Smith’s exposition of sympathy, that is, the moral philosopher’s deadly and even strange idea of sympathy with the dead. sympathetic imagination can bridge whatever interpersonal separation is created by human sensual separation, Smith comes up with the argument that we can even sympathetically step into the body of the dead invest it with all the miseries we summon through our imagination, and in turn, feel them as our…show more content…
When he wrote “On Edmund Kean as a Shakespearian Actor” in 1817, Keats imagined a posture of an ideal poet who loftily stands alone absorbed in the exercise of negatively capable sympathetic imagination .In the last days of his writerly life he once again stands, throwing his hand as dramatically and fascinatingly as any stage actor or dramatic poet reciting his own lines. Keats’s negative capability is an act of self-assertion all the way through, covered in the clothing of self-negation. In “This living hand” he throws away the garb and demands his due, frankly revealing how negatively capable negative capability
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