Margie Pigg

Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Lloyd Davies, Joseph Survant, Deborah Logan


Access granted to WKU students, faculty and staff only.

After an extensive unsuccessful search for the author, this thesis is considered an orphan work, which may be protected by copyright. The inclusion of this orphan work on TopScholar does not guarantee that that orphan work may be used for any purpose and any use of the orphan work may subject the user to a claim of copyright infringement. The reproduction of this work is made by WKU without any purpose of direct or indirect commercial advantage and is made for purposes of preservation and research.

See also WKU Archives - Authorization for Use of Thesis, Special Project & Dissertation

Degree Program

Department of English

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Whenever anyone thinks about the poetry of John Keats, the word beauty instantly comes to mind. His most famous poems include themes that encompass the world of beauty and imagination that Keats creates with his words. Keats has been seen as a superficial person who was interested in a superficial beauty that would not last. In this tradition, Keats’s idea of beauty, presented both in his letters and his poetry, is something stagnant and unchanging. Keats, however, had a mind that was always wondering, an eye that was always searching for some bit of truth that he could create both with his senses and with his imagination. Keats perceived beauty as an imaginative journey into his own soul, starting with his senses and ending with his poetry. He spoke of this journey in his poetry and his poems. He felt that beauty was not something that came naturally, but something that was acquired in many ways, including suffering. In a letter to his brother and sister-in-law he reveals his deepest feelings and tells them that he feels that beauty is not as simple as most consider it to be; the best beauty is found in the soul and is “made” through suffering. He explains that the acquisition of beauty, or a beautiful soul, can be seen as a journey through the pains and suffering of this world. Keats saw himself as a pilgrim on the journey to make his own soul, or inner beauty. In this journey, Keats would evolve from a lover of a surface beauty, one that can be considered superficial, to an admirer of a deeper beauty that could be found deep within the soul. “Ode to a Nightingale,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” and “Hyperion” reveal a journey of the imagination through which Keats illustrated his true idea of beauty, a beauty not on the surface but deep within the soul.


Arts and Humanities | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Literature in English, British Isles | Poetry