John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

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Keats’s most famous sonnet, “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”, was the result of the poet’s enthusiastic reading of George Chapman’s 1616 English translations of Homer’s epic poetry. Keats and his friend Charles Cowden Clarke spent an evening in October 1816 marvelling over Chapman’s version of famous passages from the

Iliad

and the

Odyssey

after having read them only in Alexander Pope’s translations. Just the year before, William Godwin, in his

Lives of Edward and John Philips

(1815), had praised Chapman’s translations as “more spirited, free, and full of animation and enthusiasm” than Pope’s (244). Years later Clarke recalled that the inspired Keats had left him the completed sonnet the next morning (Bate 87).

The sonnet first appeared in print as part of

1519 words

Citation: Robinson, Daniel. "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 February 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9828, accessed 05 March 2024.]

9828 On First Looking into Chapman's Homer 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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