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Mansion of Many Apartments

The Mansion of Many Apartments is a theory of the poet John Keats, expressed in his letter to John Hamilton Reynolds dated Sunday, 3 May 1818.

I compare human life to a large Mansion of Many Apartments, two of which I can only describe, the doors the rest being as yet shut upon me - The first we step into we call the infant or thoughtless Chamber, in which we remain as long as we do not think - We remain there a long while, and notwhithstanding the doors of the second Chamber remain wide open, showing a bright apperance, we care not to hasten to it; but are at length imperceptibly impelled by awakening of the thinking principle - within us - we no sooner get into the second Chamber, which I shall call the Chamber of Maiden-Thought, than we become intoxicated with the light and the atmosphere, we see nothing but pleasent wonders, and think of delaying there for ever in delight.

Keats thought that people were capable of different levels of thought. People who did not consider the world around them (probably people who did not write poety) remained in the thoughtless chamber. Even though the door to move on to the next "apartment" was open, they had no desire to think any deeper and to go into that next apartment.

When you did move on into the next chamber, you would for the first time have a choice of direction, as from this apartment there were several different park passages. Keats believed that he when he wrote the letter was at this point, as was William Wordsworth when he wrote Tintern Abbey.

Keats expressed this idea in several of his poems

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