Medievalism in literature denotes a recapture of the spirit and atmosphere of the Middle Ages. Among the romantics, Coleridge, Scott and Keats, dealt with medieval life, touching upon those aspects of it, which were romantic. The most important centres of influence in the Middle Ages were the Church and the Castle. The Romantics did not care much about the religion of the Church, though they felt attracted by its colourful aspects. They therefore let alone the religion and faith of the Middle Ages.
They laid stress upon the romance of chivalry and love one on the hand, and, on the other, upon superstitions and legends with supernatural background. Coleridge dealt with the supernatural in his Ancient Mariner and Christable; his suggestion of the weird mystery of supernaturalism in these two poems in unequalled in English poetry. Keats struck the note of supernaturalism in La Belle Dame Sans Merci. Medievalism with all its paraphernalia of romance and legend, love and adventure, is most prominent in The Eve of St. Agnes.
“La Belle” and “Ode to a Nightingale”.
The setting of the poem, La Belle Dame Sans Merci is medieval. We have here also medieval accessories-the knight-at-arms, the cruel mysterious lady, ‘a faery’s child’, the elfin grot, and the spell and enchantment and general supernatural atmosphere. La Belle is one of Keat’s great achievements. It is medieval ballad. The Eve of St. Agnes, on the other hand, is overloaded with excessive details and is marked by gorgeus, high-flown style. La Belle is in the simple style of a ballad, and tells a supernatural story with a medieval atmosphere.