Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 1. Friday, 1 January 1993.
Date: Thursday, 31 Dec 92 16:33:59 EDT
Subject: Query about negative capability
In an article I am writing I suggest that those who would
understand law should have the negative capability that Keats ascribed
At once it struck me what quality went to form a man of
achievement, especially in literature, and which Shakespeare
possessed so enormously--I mean negative capability, that is,
when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries,
doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
Which Bartlett's Familiar Quotations ascribes to John Keats, Letter to
George and Thomas Keats [December 22, 1817].
Can anyone supply me with a better source? Our library has the second
and third editions of Maurice Buxton Forman's edition of Keats' letters
and I suspect that I can find the quotation easily enough in one of
those works, but I suspect that there may be some canonical citation of
which I am ignorant.
Peter D. Junger
Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, OH