Nostalgic Ruins

In “The Fall of Hyperion,” we are transported into a dreamlike state in which nature and art are closely related. We see the development of negative capability, and are given the sense that beauty in poetry can only occur through pain and suffering.

 

In our trip to Nashville’s Parthenon, when we first entered into the Parthenon and saw Athena, I was floored. She was much taller than I expected her to be, and the beauty there was very obvious. Covered in gold with a serene look on her face, Athena seemed to be guarding and protecting Nashville from any danger.

But soon, the tour guide began to tell us the history behind Athena, how she was the last remnant of a lost age from The World Fair, a superbly proud and rich era. She was not made of the original materials that the Athena in Greece had been made of, and, in fact, the city of Nashville could not afford to rebuild Athena’s Parthenon to its full glory. This beautiful statue was simply that – an old statue, a replacement of an old, meaningful statue, placed in a modern era that cares less and less about art and the humanities.

 

What does this all mean, within the context of Keats? When Keats saw the Greece that inspired him, it was crumbling into ruins. Instead of viewing ruins, I saw an attempt to rebuild and recapture something out of the ruins. If beauty can only come through pain, I would argue that the pain for both Keats and visitors to Nashville’s Parthenon can be described as aching nostalgia.

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~ by dianawitless on October 23, 2012.

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