A Flight Within: Keat’s Nightingale In Light of the Sufis

Hend Hamed Ezzeldin


Sufism is the mode of religious life in Islam in which emphasis is placed on the activities of the inner self than external rituals and performances. The essence of Sufism lies in its internal transcendental experience. The aim of Sufis is to delve into the human soul and see through its darkness in order to reach the ultimate truth. Sufi poetry is abundant with images that present the human soul as a mystery that could be decrypted via contemplation, meditation, and inner vision. The target of Sufis is to reunite with the Universal Self that is the ‘truer’ self of every human (i.e. God). Likewise, Romanticism is founded on the doctrine that all creation began in harmonious unity. Romantic poets share Sufis’ quest for truth and an illuminating path towards reaching the essence of the Divine. A renowned Romantic poet, John Keats, contrary to his fellow Romantics, never alluded to sharing any interest with the orient or the spirituality it incarnates. However, by attempting a Sufi reading of his poem ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, this research paper will attempt to highlight the underlying philosophy and uncover the spiritual implications hidden within Keats’ ode and propound a solid connection between Sufi and Romantic ideologies.


Sufism, Romanticism, Annihilation, Nightingale, Keats, Spirituality

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.9n.3p.121


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