Negative Capability

Negative capability is a literary concept introduced by poet John Keats, which refers to the ability of a writer to embrace uncertainty, doubt, and ambiguity in their work. It involves the willingness to accept and tolerate contradictions and paradoxes without seeking a definitive resolution. Negative capability is a way of thinking that emphasizes the value of imagination and intuition, and allows for multiple interpretations and meanings in a work of literature.

Examples of negative capability:

The best references of the use of negative capability in literature would be of Keats’ own works, especially poems such as Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale.

4 thoughts on “Negative Capability”

  1. I equate negative capability with a particular brand of religious Faith…..Having Faith is having an open mind. Having Faith is the ability to not look for Absolute Truths or
    over riding principles. Having Faith means respecting the Mystery. Faith is in opposition to Belief. Belief nails one to the floor. A person is not likely to believe something that doesn’t jibe with her preconceived notions, her prejudices. Belief is a prop for ones prejudices. Faith is an openness to the Universe. Faith is negative Capability.

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