John Keats


Negative Capability: Embracing Uncertainty and Celebrating the Mysterious.

In a letter to his brothers, George and Thomas, found in Letters of John Keats to His Family and Friends and dated December 21, 1817, Keats uses the phrase that has come to be the single most emblematic phrase of his entire surviving correspondence, even though he only makes mention of it once: “Negative Capability” — the willingness to embrace uncertainty, live with mystery, and make peace with ambiguity. Triggered by Keats’s disagreement with English poet and philosopher Coleridge, whose quest for definitive answers over beauty laid the foundations for modern-day reductionism, the concept is a beautiful articulation of a familiar sentiment — that life is about living the questions, that the unknown is what drives science, that the most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.

Negative Capability made easy through the appeal of images!

Negative capabilitymystery-animaltumblr_m4ff0lBIi21qjzbubo1_500

What is this man doing with Keats’s concept?  How do you relate to “negative capability”? In other words, do you deem it a useful concept to bear in mind in your life? Why (not)?


Negative capability explained in words!

“The wise man questions the wisdom of others because he questions his own, the foolish man, because it is different from his own.” —Leo Stein, American art collector and critic

In an 1817 letter to a friend, the poet John Keats describes one of the qualities that makes writers like Shakespeare so great: negative capability. Keats defines this trait as “…when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” In other words, this is the ability to sublimate one’s own individual assumptions about the world and write about uncertain (or potentially polarizing) topics in such a way that the author’s own views remain unknown. It is also the recognition that there are often grey areas in life which cannot be resolved through rational means. This requires an extraordinary degree of objectivity, and it’s much harder than it seems. To enter into the mind of other people (or things) and speak from their point of view is an essential goal for writers.Often some of the most engaging literary works are those where there is no clear side taken on contentious issues (such as the free will versus predestination dichotomy in Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex). But the question is, how can writers break free from their own personal perceptions and approach subjects from a more objective point of view?

1. Read writers who are good at negative capability: Keats, Shakespeare, and Sophocles. But there are plenty of other notable authors, such as Emily Dickenson, William Wordsworth, Anne Rice, Walt Whitman, and John Updike.

2. Learn to view situations from other people’s perspectives. Imagine not what you would do if you were facing their circumstances, but rather think about what they would do and why.

3. Step into the unknown. Force yourself to write about subjects or situations you are uncomfortable with (or know little about).

4. Write in a new genre. Tell a familiar tale in a different format. Different literary conventions require different sensibilities, and this can lead to breakthroughs in our perceptions of subjects.

One of the joys of reading is having the opportunity to experience situations from someone else’s perspective. To do this convincingly, writers must learn to put aside their own ideas about the world and imagine alternative possibilities. This is terra incognita for many people, but by embracing this approach, you may discover new avenues of creative potential, and this is exactly what KEATS teachers US! He would have been a great creative writing instructor, wouldn’t he?

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Different painters were inspired by this poem.  Look at their works of art.  In the light of the analysis of the poem and your reading of it, which painting do you like best? Why? Try to substantiate your choice with references to the poem itself.


John William Waterhouse



(c) Bristol Museum and Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue FoundationFrank Dicksee

cowper_belle_dame_sans_merciFrank Cadogan Cowper


Arthur Hughes

Ode on a Grecian Urn


Look at the following videos to learn more about this great, yet difficult, ode.

The BBC webpage has an interesting section dedicated to The Romantics, worth browsing it: you can see the original manuscript too, if you are interested.

I highly suggest you listen to/watch the following lectures on the ode, so that you expose yoruself to different ways of analysing a poem, to different expressions to explain the same concepts.  It is good listening comprehension and a good way to expand your vocabulary and hone your listening skill.  Which lecture do you like best? Why?  As a student, which teacher/lecturer of these would appeal to you the most? Substantiate your choice.  We will discuss this point in class together.

Do you agree that art takes its truth from life and then returns it to life as beauty as is suggested in the poem? The poet seems to suggest that only the dead are immortal how are they immortalized?

This is a detailed analysis that I prepared some time ago for other students of mine.  I decided to post it here because some of you may find it useful.

Ode on a Grecian Urn

BBC Omnibus, 1995 – To commemorate the bicentenary of sublime English poet John Keats, Andrew Motion (now Poet Laureate) recreates the final, futile voyage from England to Italy

If you go to Rome, do not miss the Keats-Shelley house.  It is a great place to visit, especially for people like you, who had the chance to study English literature.


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149 risposte a John Keats

  1. Matteo scrive:

    John Keats is one of the best poet of english history. For him a poet had to have the “negative capability” to do his poems. “Negative capability” is the cability to enjoy the unknown without the need to analyze everything into certain. How we saw in the “Get altitude-negative capability” this was only used in the past also in the present. This cability however is not learn by everybody, as Keats said just poets have this. In our socirty it has almost disappeared, because we all want to know the reason of the things. The only person that have this ability by now are the kids. For example when a kid sees a cartoon where the characters fly, he don’t think to the reason, but he wants solely do the same thing; if an adult sees it he thinks that it is ridicolous because they know that it’s impossible for a man to fly. Therefore I think that if we understant the “negative capability” we’ll appreciate most the trivial things of life: when it rain we can feel it in our skin in a different way, most free and most bautiful.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I liked the example of a child watching cartoons. At times it is not always easy to grasp the depth of yor thoughts because there are some problems with language. You did not express your ideas as to the man in the video.

  2. Veronica scrive:

    The negative capability is the ability of the poet who accept diversity to understand the truth. It is the ability to go beyond himself. However, humans don’t have it because we reject what doesn’t fit in our minds. We deny a part of the truth and remain anchored in our certainties, while the poet has the capacity to accommodate the doubts, perplexities. When relies on negative capability, the poet can achieve the beauty and truth, only through the imagination and recollection in tranquillity. Only through the senses man can eliminate the habit, marvel at the things he’s around and get to know. He tells us that in his letter to his brother George and Thomas.
    Today it is used both to manipulate people and therefore is also considered from the point of view negative compared to the past. But according to me is very important as it allows us to have a broader view than our own , and you even get to the truth. In fact, if we find ourselves in front of a homeless man the first thing that would come to mind certainly : <> . But if we think about it may have chosen to make that life because they no longer have the strength and will to live. Feel a sense of abandonment or are just forced because they have more money to keep even a house or because of a separation are not able to support two homes. I think it is important before you judge , even though we are in a world full of prejudices , enter the lives of others and to understand and accept what is different from us. For example, the racism , the end even if the skin color distinguishes us we are all equal , so we should put ourselves in the shoes of the poet , and we go beyond ourselves and accept diversity , questioning our certainties.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You grasped the concept and you exemplified it successfully. What about the use of Keats’s concept in the field of business?

  3. Leonardo Bidoia scrive:

    Keats believed that great men, especially poets, who considered superior to the rest of humanity, had the ability to accept that some things can not be explained and resolved. They were thus able to hold a negative attitude about something. Keats was a romantic and believed that truth resided in science or reason, but in the art. In art, the purpose is not, as in science, solve problems, but rather to explore them. From there, accepting that it can not be a solution to problems is important for artists.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You got the point, but there is no reference to your personal opinion of this concept, to the way this concept is used in the field of business (see video).

  4. Francesca Lovisa scrive:

    Keats believed we had to let go of our typical human attributes that cause us to become rational and decisive when in a state of conflict. Instead he thought we should simply sit in between our two conflicting sides and let their individual ideas flow into us, ultimately resulting in a brilliant kind of creativity and imagination that doesn’t need to settle into one way of thinking or perceiving but can blissfully hover in the in between world of not knowing.
    It is for sure a very useful concept, religion has had the role of fostering negative capability during my lifetime. Especially during my childhood, I often found myself wondering about things that from a rational point of view did not make sense but had an answer through religion, which was exactly what I was looking for. But religion is built on a set of principles, the so called dogma, that cannot be contradicted and are seen as the truth and this is where it stops being coherent with Keats’s theory.
    If religion wasn’t so inflexible a lot of things could have been avoided, millions of lives spared.
    Racism, homophobia religious intolerance are all caused by the fear of the unknown, which is exactly what Keats wants us to embrace. If society had followed his views, today there wouldn’t be such things as discriminations, which are purely given by the perception someone has of certain groups they don’t belong in and see them as something wrong because unfortunately it is a human survival trait to be hostile to said unknown.
    In my life I have always tried, as Keats says, to “make peace with ambiguity”; I don’t question anyone’s lifestyle, even if I don’t embrace it, I just leave them be. But, as a student, I find his theory challenging in other fields. For example what I aim for with my studies is certainty, when I study I always try to understand why certain things happen or why a maths problem has to be solved with a specific formula. I have trouble being in uncertainties as I’ve been taught I should not have them, but it does seem like a pleasant approach to life, of continual growth and learning.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I really appreciate the detailed and profound account you give of your personal experience related to the concept of “negative capability”. Remember, though, that “being in uncertainties” does not mean not looking for an answer. It means accepting things without being scared, without losing your balance, being empowered and this empowerment, confidence and sympathy will in the end lead you to a better answer, to a more profound knowledge, to the TRUTH.

  5. Mattia De Camillis Baiocchi scrive:

    The use that this man does of Keats’s concept is interesting, he use negative capability like a form of brain controller. This kind of use doesn’t came only from this person but also from many others. This view of Keats’s negative capability is a commercial view, this kind of interpretation is something used only for convince people to buy something, and the man in the video is explaining to his audience how to do it. Negative capability is something that is inside man, and is something that he use during his life, but nowadays it is become a kind of science. I think that it is usefull in our lives, but I think at the same time that take advantage from this science is not right because everything has got his limits and the negative capability has a limit too.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      The limit is not in the concept of “negative capability”, but in the use that man makes of it.
      You do not seem to share with me and the others your personal response to Keats’s concept.

  6. Rigutto Tommaso scrive:

    Negative Capability
    After listening to the man in the video, I can say that I perfectly agree with his point of view.
    I also believe that if we want to grow our self-esteem and our capability to understand better the problems that we have to face, we need to understand better how others feel and how they solve their problems.
    If we do not open our minds we will never be able to reach our goals, we will end up living alone in an illusion. The world around us is apart of our life and we must understand that everyone needs each other

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You do not seem to refer to the fact that the man in the video refers to “negative capability” as a currency, which may raise some doubts as to the ethical use of Keats’s concept.

  7. Basma Saykouk scrive:

    The concept of “negative capability” changes from person to person. It depends on emotional and psychological factors. “Some people feel the rain,other just get wet”,infact every human being is able to feel the nature,we are all part of nature,how we can not feel it? How we can’t share the pain of the humanity? In my opinion thanks to the nature,music and poetry every human being is able to dig in his soul and discover inner emotions, feelings,never felt before. Personally,in my life,everyday I practise the negative capability. I’m a religious practitioner and I feel as the poet that deny his self,certanties and personality in order to identify him self in the dimension in wich he’s searching the inspiration,and the place where the truth resides. In my religion I find peace,emotions that I could not explain. As I found pace,I found also doubts and question marks, which I don’t know how to answer,without having any practical demostration of the abstract dimension which I believe. And here resides all the beuty,and the truth. I just believe in mistery. Believer as the poet. It’s not easy not being able to find answers to the doubts that can’t be resolved, and it’s here where faith is sorely test.
    We all live in the hands of fate,I feel as I’m a part of my religion, I live everyday trying to respect and practise it. I feel as the poet, that consider him self part of the nature.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Nice personal comment. I agree with you when you state that art, poetry, religion can better our souls and help us reach that kind of sympathy and empathy all human beings have in themselves. However, I do not agree when you say that all of us do have and show sympathy. Having the potential does not mean showing or proving it. Lots of people, for example, do not show any respect to nature. Then you find “solace” and “peace” in religion, in faith, but there are many people who are endowed with the great skill of “negative capability” who are either atheist or agnostic.

  8. Simona Mastrapasqua scrive:

    Negative capability is the capacity to be able to understand and to accept the point of view of others. It’s a quality very rare and difficult to achieve. Moreover modern mentality is costitued exactly by this thought, that is to have an open mind and to be able to accept the different. I think that nowadays negative capability can be very useful for breaking down social differences and creating a more united world, that it doesn’t have no longer afraid of diversity. But this often does not happen , just think of the racism, a negative phenomenon that has always existed and it consists in prejudice to another person or an entire population. In some cases we must also maintein own opinion and not necessarily we must accept that of the other , because from two conflicting ideas, they can create a new one. In the future, in the professional, I’ll try to make the best use of negative capability. I would like to become a teacher and in this job it’s very important to admit different opinions, even when they go against own moral.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      You are right when you state that to be a good teacher you need to show empathy and sympathy along many other qualities, however that does not mean you deny your morals. You accept other people’s different views, but that does not mean you do not have any of your own, quite the opposite.
      At times it is not easy to follow your train of thoughts because there are some problems with collocations and syntax. Do remind me to point out some mistakes in class so that you can better your performance.
      I am happy to see you always respond promptly to what I ask you to do. I appreciate the way you are working. Thank you! 😉

  9. MartinaBravin scrive:

    Negative Capability is one of the techniques of the writer John Keats to create art and poetry, described by the poet as “…when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” In fact with negative, he means his soul and personality denial in order to identify himself with another object, where he thinks it’s placed the truth. This skill has to be part of every good man over of good poet : they should manage to create an empathy with others to understand them and to have an efficient knowing of unknown. Sympathy has to be one of the most important human feature that everyone should be able to use.
    Also in the modern life this capability to interact with others’ thoughts, rejecting our beliefs for understood an external point of view, it would be really important especially when people treat ethical or social questions. Probably it could be a right way to solve religious problems, for example when there is a discussion between Islamic and Christian traditions and faith. A Phenomenon as racism would disappear. Besides I think that we could spare lots of slain in harsh battles, if we could have the best comprehension of other’s needs and the reason of these.
    On the psychological sphere I retain that negative capability should be the first and the most important quality of a psychologist or of everyone who have a direct contact with people’s soul, not for materialistic or economic interests ,but in order to have the most effective relationship with them. In the most case we could have also a saving of human resources, time and money ,in addition to the best results in their jobs.
    However the right way is out of reach for the majority, but the effort to realize this objective is useful not just for our interlocutors but also to know better the still unknowing parts of our consciousness.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Great considerations. The only part you did not touch on is the one linked to the man in the video. How does he use Keats’s concept? Do you approve of that?

  10. jessica scrive:

    To appreciate the world in all its asects, we should look at it in his entirety. We should leave apart our impressions, our feelings, our vision of thing conditioned by our moods. We should embrace diversity without fearing the unknown, without predjudices towards what doesn’t belong to our usual way of being or thinking, of living or approciating.
    Negative capability is the key we all have, to adopt this life system and so to unlock the comprehension of other people and things. In this way we couldn learn a better way of living because of the harmony we could create. However, few of us is able to embrace negative capability. Often this great quality is used for economical aims, and in it doing, it is turned by a positive means to a mere market’s tool: nowaday society is mainly oriented towards that approach (as we see in the video), often omitting real values.
    Introducting a school’s subject that could lead us to think adopting Negative capability, would be intresting and useful and it would allowd to present and to future generation, not to be subjugated to all the materialistic messages we’re continuously subjected to.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Personal and insightful considerations Jessica. I am proud of you. Do remind me in class to discuss some language points, so that I can help you better your writing and at the exam you will certain excell!

  11. Madalina Pavel scrive:

    The man in the video is trying to make the spiritual concept, that Keats expresses with the negative capability, into something material. He wants to teach audience how to make profit through cheating people. He is trying to explain that, by entering the mind of the buyer, you are able to control him. I think that he got the point, even if I think it’s a despicable thing. What Keats discovered is the most powerful weapon that man has, the power to persuade the minds. In our day this happens all the time, for example in advertising, fashion, and public events. But the Negative capability is even used to make good things; for example music, listening to the it makes us forget ourselves, or in the movie, where we become the protagonist, and we live for that hour his life, and the same thing happens in books. I believe that the negative capability that the man shows is a weapon, and as all the weapons should not exist, because it limits the freedom of the people. Conversely using this capability for good intentions would be the best, but humanity is not capable of being good, becouse everyone wants to have more and more, everyone wants to own more and more. For these reasons, I believe that the negative capability should not be used in live, but only in art, because we are not ready for such a responsibility.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Thus, following your train of thoughts, this is the reason why just poets have and and can use it. 😉
      Quite frankly I want to hone this capability in me and I would really love to use it to better enter in contact with nature, with the people I love, with the things I observe, with the books I read and most of all with myself.

  12. Giulia Fren scrive:

    Negative capability is a general term that can have many interpretations. Actually, as an example, I could cite Eben Pagan. He says that it is the ability to cancel our emotional decisions , to empty from what we think in order to understand the person who we are talking to. This is used in marketing to increase sales , and in fact this is the ability to achieve success going over the rules. In my opinion, the negative capability is the skill to cancel out ourselves to discover ” new lands ” , in other words, is the ability to live emotions even though I do not know exactly what’s going on , I accept to remain in uncertainty in order to open my mind to new things , new points of view without caring of past things . Mankind is always looking for an answer, but sometimes there isn’t or is better not to know it , we can’t give an answer to everything; so relying on the mystery without caring all these concerns can be reached ‘ openness, which leads us to a personal success. I think this applies when a person decides to start a therapy of psychoanalysis, that’s because you don’t have to constantly ask yourself if what you’re doing is right , if it is useful , if you can trust , you have to let yourself go and accept to remain in doubt without searching answers, because only in that way your gonna achieve success.

  13. Elisa Angelica Farinola scrive:

    According to me, the “theory” of the Negative Capability of Keats states that the poet, and especially the Romantic poet above all, does not seek the scientific or philosophical truth, does not solve the problems, but explores them. Indeed, for the artist that some problems do not admit solutions is better. It is an attitude which consists of a recollection, that leaves be things as they are, without intervening. It is an ethical approach, which implies the abandonment of things, a position of the mind that meditates the deeper meaning of truth and is open to the mystery of being, remaining open to all the ideas and ideologies without the fear of the cages dictated by the large institutions that create only false prejudices. This is precisely why I think the negative capability should be used even among us, like young people, since we claim to know everything when maybe it is not so, especially when we make judgments without fully knowing the persons or the situations.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Lovely explanation. I really liked it. You did not refer to the use of this concept by the man in the video. 🙂

  14. Giulia Marson scrive:

    Negative capability is,in my opinion,the ability to understand the world the desire to try to reconcille conflicting aspect and ,also, the ability to don’t accept solution of every question. So through”negative capability” we can further to be free against social and institutional constraints, and broken up the bonds that close down us in a certain social station. We have to be able to accept what is different and unknown ,in order to coexist with the incapability to explain everythigs sorrounding us. For exemple not always explain enviroment disaster happen. Nowadays, furthermore even though our societies are so developed,children ,of third word,still die because of desease which in our country are “common” and there they are still incurable or sometimes I wonder why misfortune often strikes “good people”who don’t deserve it,while “bad people”save themself from it.We must not be afraid of abandoning the known for the unknown and we have to try to communicate with the different in order to understand it better

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I cannot grasp in what way you link “negative capability” with natural disasters. Then you seem to have overseen another part of the task, that of highlighting the way the man in the video uses Keats’s concept.

  15. Chiara F. scrive:

    Negative capability is the ability to change our point of view about something that is different and incomprehensible to us. According to Keats, the artists have the ability to experience wonder and awe without trying to find a reason for everything. Nowadays this ability can be used in various ways. With others it is useful to get into the mindset of them so as not to have prejudiced against them. In fact, it may be useful also for not expressing opinions about things we don’t understand because of our ideals, it can help us get out of our “mental cage.” But negative capability can also be used in the opposite manner by making pthers think and putting them in doubt in our favor so as to persuade them to do or think something to our advantage. It can be used to manipulate or understand, it’s up to us to decide what use to make of it.

  16. Emanuele scrive:

    This man is using the negative capability like a technique to persuade people. He wants to capture human emotion and their values. Negative capability is the ability to accept that not everything can be resolved. Keats said that only poets and a few other people have this ability and they could maintain a negative attitude about something. Nowadays negative capability is very rare because we want to resolve everything and to know a lot of thing, but sometimes it would be better not to know everything and instead have a sense of discovery for the immediate joy. In conclusion in our life there are a lot of thing that cannot be resolved because these are too big for mankind and man does not have to intervene.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Mind you not to misunderstand the concept: abandoning yourself and embracing doubts, mysteries, liberating yourself of “the mind-forged menacles” and conditioning of our personality, does not mean not facing problems. It means entering in deep contact with the object of our investigation, it means unlocking our senses and our emotions completely, it means becoming the other, it means SYMPATHY (a key word in Keats). What about the way you relate to the concept of “negative capability”?

  17. Francesco Bortolussi scrive:

    According to Keat the negative capability is a skill that has only the poet. Unlike the other men, the poet is not haunted by existential questions to answer in a certain way and focused, rather, if there is no answer or solution to a question is a good thing, otherwise this would limit and trivialize the truth, but just want to explore it through the senses longer available in a way as to be able to grasp the essence and being able to translate with the art. With this technique it is possible to deny and go out of ourselves, empathize with another person and experience the same feelings and emotions he is trying. This man, like Keat, is able to use the negative capability, but unlike the poet, he uses it for his own purposes: manages to understand what others feel and is able to manipulate their sentiments to persuade them to do certain things , thus achieving a great power.
    I think it is wrong to manipulate people’s feelings because it is one of our weakest points and you can, intentionally or not, create massive damage in a person.
    However, learning to recognize the negative capability you can defend yourself from these persuaders and manipulators.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Well done, but you did not say in what way you can relate to Keats’s concept. Did it make you reflect upon certain aspects of your life or not?

  18. Luana scrive:

    “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”, Frank Dicksee.

    I prefer the picture of Frank Dicksee because it seems a photo that shoot a fleeting and sudden moment.
    The lady’s dress, red as her hair, is poor in details different as knight one. She is all red as if Dicksee wanted to portray the woman’s demonic nature who enchants the men; her hair and sides are adorns with flowers as if to conceal the lady’s bad nature with innocence of the flowers.
    The look of the knight is full of love, surprise and listening intently to the beautiful woman’s words the bewitched soon would kill him.
    I like the picture because it, even though shooting a love scene, shows the bad fate the would soon hit the rider. This can be understood through the lady’s mischievous eyes which, despite showing love, she can’t really hide his evil nature. I like this because it shows that in every love there may be something negative; but not only in love, but also in friendship and in all things in life because evil can reside in every positive and lovely things.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I do not understand how you can see the evil eyes of the Lady.
      What about the Knight’s hand holding the horse’s harness? Isn’t that meaningful too? 😉

  19. Chiara F. scrive:

    I liked the picture of Frank Cadogan Cowper better. In this painting the Madame is beautiful and she looks so powerful and menacing in front of the knight. He has already fallen to the ground because of her cheat. She is very nice with blond hair and an awesome red dress, that recalls the poppies, symbol of weakness, the same of the knight who has been deceived by her beauty. Now he is absorbed in an eternal sleep and he will appear for those, like him, will be cheated by “la Belle Dame sans merci”.

  20. Veronica scrive:

    I personally like most of the painting by Frank Dicksee because it is a beautiful girl who kidnaps the man at her feet with her fascination. In addition, in many ways reflects the opera “La Belle Dame sans Merci” by John Keat because it paints a woman on horse where man has eyes only for her because she is bent towards him while he sang a song fairy. For me, this picture is the one that most represents that love is a trap, because her beauty is able to deceive him and take him in his cave. For me it is the most beautiful picture also because the scene is more romantic than the other three, with beautiful clothes, flowers, horse, a beautiful landscape and also used light colors and soft.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Love is a trap when it is based on physical beauty only. As a matter of fact the knight is entrapped by the young woman’s beauty and voice.

  21. jessica scrive:

    The picture I prefer is the third: in my opinion it express perfectly the fascinating idea of “femme fatale”. She’s beautiful and careless about the consequences of her behaviour, infact while the wrong-love poisoned knight lies on the grass, she brushes her hair looking almost satisfied about her result. This particularly cruel indifference strucked me a lot, (and it made me choose this picture) because it reveals the real end of the story, instead of showing us only the beautiful but false sensitive looks between the lovers, and so I appreciate the image’s truthfulness. An other nice aspect is the contrast between the woman’s beauty, the warm colurs, the wonderfoul landscape and the peaceful sensation that derives from they, and the liyng knight: at first I didn’t even see he was there. Anyway, also this particular contributes to give us the idea of the lady’s superficiality. I like the collision between the beauty and the cruelty of the woman because it gives me a certain idea of female strenght (but my admiration to this feature is limitated to literature).

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      The focus of attention is the woman, this is the reason why at first glance you oversaw the knights. She is triumphant, indifferent to his plight and death. She has had her will! Another man in her snare. She is getting ready for her next prey. The question that I pose myself is: why do so many men fall into her trap? Is it just because she is so beautiful? Is it because of her magical voice?

  22. Tommaso scrive:

    The painting I perfer is the one done by John WIlliam Waterhouse. Between the knight and the young lady passion transpires. The knight is leaning over her. He loves her you can see this in his eyes. But the way he is bent I can imagine that he is in pain. The colours of the painting are dark. It seems autumn the season which leads to the end of the year where all is calm and cold, symbolizing the ending of life. The two characters look at each other intensely. They want to kiss but something seems to frighten them and maybe will change their future. The lady is beautiful, she has long brown hair and is wearing a wonderful red dress. Everything about her is “almost”perfect . I have written the word “almost” because if you take a closer look at her you will notice that her eyes aren’t flaming with passion but they seem far away. She deceives the knight by pulling him towards her. The knight will fall and die in pain.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      My favourite paiting too, though I love the others too. The colours are dark because it is autumn (as you pointed out), this because the poem makes it clear that it is this period of the year. You have not mentioned the long hair. The painter chooses this feature, because her long hair keeps the knight tied to her. It is representative of her snare.

  23. MartinaBravin scrive:

    La Belle Dame sans merci
    I’ve chosen the Dicksee’s picture for its incredible expressivity and because the painter has succeeded in expressing the obsessive love feeling of the knight.
    In fact it is really obvious how la belle sans merci keeps him in her thrall, singing to the knight her fairy song. She takes advantage of having been put on hid pacing steed, and of having been treated as a queen. She has the power from the top of the horse while the knight is submitted at the foot of it.
    He has totally fallen in love so he can’t realize that she is as a drug for him, and that she will bring him to ruin. In the picture she is drawn as a princess and she wears beautiful flower garlands as crown and as a fragrant belt, made by his lover how john Keats has written in the ballad. Her hairs and her typical medieval dress are red, the color of the passion but also of the tempter devil. Here the woman has seen through her double appearance of angelic and demoniac creature. So the painter has grouped in only one painting the development of the woman transformation across the two states. I admire also the incredible care for details, especially about knight’s armor, and about the setting: a luxuriant landscape rich of the typical roses of English country. The latter contribute to convey a fairy atmosphere to the scene, also thanks to the bright oil colors, referring to the romantic use of associate the nature to the feelings.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Nice description. Be careful, though, with hair/hairs. Hair is “capelli”, whereas hairs is “peli” 🙂
      Perhaps you wanted to emphasise Keats’s sexual innuendoes?! We saw that the poem is plenty with them. 🙂

  24. Madalina Pavel scrive:

    I appreciate Frank Cadogan Cowper’s paint. It contains the scene of the death of the knight, but also the opinion of the artist about the “belle dame”. Cowper makes it seem a dream, into an idyllic landscape, if i I did not know it was make for the poem, then I would have said that it is a love scene, not a death one. In the poem we only have the point of view of the knight. There is the knight laid “on the cold hill side” (l.36), we can observe this becouse the sun is behind the hill, a metaphor of death. Then there is a lily beside his brow, another metaphor of death. The the two figure are framed by a meadow of poppies, that are the symbol of Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams. That is one of the big doubt we have when we are reading, because we do not know if what the knight is saying is real or a dream. Also evente the drawings on the dress of the woman are poppies, by this (I think) the artist wants to emphasize that the knigh’s woman is fictitious like a dream, and that the feelings that he thinks she feels for him are not real. The lady in the paind has the features of the one on the poem, “her haire was long” (l.15) , but in the poem she is not in the scene of the death of the knignt. She is looking at the lily next her feet, and she is smiling to it. She seems satisfied with her action. It is like she has been able to get what he wanted, that is the death of the knight. She is the example of the femme fatale. I chose this painting, in the first place for the colors that have caught my attention; in the second place because, looking closely, I realized that is the one wihich most explains the meaning of the picture.

  25. Andrea Moras scrive:

    Negative capability is a word that can have many interpretations. Eben Pagan ,a guru of economy, says that negative capability is the ability to cancel decisions guided by emotions for the identification in the person we are talking to. This skill is used in world of business to increase the gain and to overcome the rules. In my opinion the negative capability is the capacity to let oneself go, to know new things not worrying about the events that would happen soon. In other words is the ability of having no prejudices, to open the mind for new points of view. Negative capability is also the concept that there aren’t answers for everything and we (people) haven’t the control on the world. This concept in our lives can be very useful because make we achieve new objectives and success. Or , in life, is also usefull this skill to stay in tranquillity and to reach the pleasure.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      So, whose view do you like better? Keat’s or E.Pagan’s?
      Do you deem negative capability the ability that you can use to gain pleasure?

  26. Francesca Lovisa scrive:

    The painting I like best is the one made by John William Waterhouse, he managed to emphasize the sensuality and erotism of the poem whereas the other painters did not; the poem has many interpretations, one of them sees the ballad as the poet’s rebellion against the pains of love, which is the one I prefer. In his letters Keats said that he particularly resented the loss of freedom that comes with falling in love. Waterhouse underlines this privation in the way the woman holds on to him with her long hair, almost kissing him, while he is still holding the spear trying to resist her; but as we can see by the inclination of his body he is about to fall, charmed by her words. His banner has already fallen and it is red, colour of passion, and it resembles blood, foreshadowing his imminent dream where he will be seeing the kings and princes killed by the woman, who embodies Death.
    The painting is less gruesome than the one made by Frank Cadogan Cowper but is still able to express through the withered nature a sense of decay and fatality.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Definitely! You may even say that the loss of freedom caused by falling in love can be found in the woman’s hair, which function as a noose used to ensnare her preys.

  27. Simona Mastrapasqua scrive:

    Among four paintings, which reproduce La Belle Dame sans Merci, I prefer that of Frank Dicksee, because while I was reading I imagined a scene similiar to the one. First of all gaze stops at faces of the two protagonists, who look at each other in a penetrating way. The Lady has infinite beauty, as is described in line 14 “ Full beautiful – a faery’s child”. She has got very long hair , as if they wrap and trap the knight. She has a pure beauty, but she has also a sensual stance. So a beauty idealised, oscillating between the spiritual and the carnal. The Dame wears a garland on the head both in the painting and in the ballad. The knight has opens arms and he is paralyzed by her hypnotic gaze. Moreover although she was brought on a horse by the knight , in this scene, considering his condition, it seems that is the lady to lead him there, where other knights were led. So he is only a innocent victim , who is fallen into a trap of love: trust , which he had towards the woman and she deceived. In this painting the only thing that isn’t represented in a right way is the landscape, that it seems vernal, instead in the ballad is autumnal. Maybe the author of the painting wanted to show a fairy setting, that makes woman’s lies seem true.

  28. Emanuele scrive:

    My favourite picture is that of Sir Frank Dicksee. The painting was inspired by a late medieval ballad of the fifteenth century, written by Alain Chartier, a French poet, and recovery in the nineteenth century by John Keats in “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” , in two versions similar to each other. I choose this painting because there are a lot of element that depicting the story of the ballad: there is the horse, the knight with his armor, the lady with her beautiful dress and the garland on his head. Another important element is the landscape: there are flowers, meadows, trees, but primarily the lake. The lake is very important because in the poem it refers to autumn and mirrors the state of mind of the poet. In the end of the poem also there is this reference but it alludes to death forming a circular movement because it ends how it starts. In conclusion I choose this painting because I was struck by the harmony that transmit you and beautiful colors that have.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      The mild colours give a touch of calmness and tranquillity to the scene, which obviously is in contrast with the plight that will soon hit the knight!

  29. Elisa Angelica Farinola scrive:

    In the light of the analysis of the poem and my reading of it, the painting I like best is the one of Franck Discksee, because I was particularly impressed with the background, the beauty and spontaneity of the lady, which brings about the knight’s petrified posture.
    She leans from the horse just as it is pointed out in the poem and she is whispering words that spells him.
    The naturalness of her is in contrast to the immobilization of him, completely under the yoke of the girl, who deceives him and she is bringing him straight to its end.
    This painting is the metaphor of falling in love and it represents at best how a sweet voice and honeyed words can be a trap even to the strongest knight.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      He is carried away by her beauty and her voice. He does not seem to be valiant enough to see through the real nature of the young woman.

  30. Francesco Bortolussi scrive:

    Of all the paintings of the “Belle dame sans merci” I liked more the picture of Frank Dicksee, because it is the one that best portrays the story. In fact, in the picture, the knight has a look literally mesmerized by the singing of the beautiful girl, as he writes in his ballad Keat, and also there is the detail of the floral gift, donated to the belle dame sans merci. The girl has the long and wavy red hair that strongly enhance the wild and demonic factor that makes her like a creature so seemingly innocent and beautiful than it really is, ruthless and diabolic. Perilous, in the representation, the woman is in an elevated position relative to men, indicating her dominance in what the knight thinks mutual love unaware of what awaits him.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Unawareness is the trap from which he won’t be able to escape. He becomes aware in the dream, but it is too late. His destiny is marked. No return is possible.

  31. Giulia Fren scrive:

    I liked the second Quard most (which one of Frank Dicksee ) . In my opinion it expresses many of the concepts inherent in the Keats ballad : Beauty of the femme fatale , a mystery that leads to death and the supernatural element . The knight and the lady are united and form a harmonious wheel , which emphasizes woman’s beauty. The whole landscape is meant to bring out the charm and enchantment of lady sans mercì . This theme is important as it will remain forever a source of inspiration and torment to mankind. In addition, the lake behind the two characters was not chosen randomly , in fact in Celtic mythology it rappresents the complicity between beauty and deception. observing better the situation it seems that the woman is whispering sweet words to the knight , she’s probably using her supernatural powers. They consist in singing nice melodies , but they will be fatal for the poor knight . At this point we find the theme of mystery because we don’t know what terrible fate touches this man , because he is helpless in front of the ” Feary ‘s child ,” he can’t do anything against her that has him in thrall. All of these elements that are represented plus the cool hills landscape imply death. Colors remind of a late summer sunset , early fall and is to symbolize that something is reaching the end. death in the knight’s case.

  32. Valentina Paronuzzi scrive:

    For me “Negative Capability” is the ability to understand completely everything that surrounds us: understand its emotions, its behaviors and its thoughts. Just BE IT.
    And, by doing this, we have not to be us at that moment, but we just have to forget what we are to understand and, therefore, BE that thing or person.
    In this manner we are able to learn other ways of being in order to free ourself of prejudices and not to criticize everything we consider different.
    In this way we can understand other ways of thinking and, by doing so, there won’t be conflicts because everyone tries not to oppose the thought of the other but to accept it.
    The man in the video uses in a wrong way “Negative Capability” because he pratices it to manipulate people: he identifies himself in them to understand what are their weaknesses and use them in order to make people buy what he sells.
    This is not the purpose for which we have to use ” Nagative Capability” but, in my opinion, this ability is meant to empathize with other people to understand them and their way of being in order to live in a world free of struggles.
    There may be different opinions but we have to try to understand entirely all of them before imposing our on the other.

  33. Silvia Zongaro scrive:

    If I have to explain what negative capability is I would say that is the ability of human beings to deny their beliefs to understand the ones of othes. Keats says that we have to communicate even with people who have different beliefs, certainties and ideas from ours. For this reason our task is to try to go out from our world and communicate with all the others.
    In my opinion ”Negative capability” in our lives could be a positive or negative thing. Positive because try to think not only with our ideas and to think with the mind of others people could stop lot of conflicts, prejudices, and why not even racism. To make an example if you deny, for a short time, your idea of “thin is beauty” you could accept even those who you think were ugly only because they’re fat.
    On the other side I saw the negative thing of “negative capability” watching the video of the man speaking about this theme. He is teaching to others sellers how to become successful businessmen using negative capability only to manipulate the mind of people to convince them to buy their products.
    In my point of view negative capability is not a way to manipulate people’s mind but a way to accept the ideas of all human beings.

  34. Valentina Porro scrive:

    Valentina Porro 5°F
    The most important concept in John Keats’ poetry is that of Negative Capability. The poet introduced this concept to highlight the capability that poets have to understand better things. It is not too easy to understand this concept but as far as I understood this capability, I thought that is not only a feature of the poet but sometimes this is a capability that also I and people, who are not poet, have got. Keats identified this concept with the skill that poets have to deny themselves for a short period of time and by doing this they free themselves from their prejudices, their opinions and from their points of view. When they reach this “state of freedom”, they are free to understand the deep message of things, they can understand completely other people and feel what they are feeling. With this ability poets are in a state that is free of doubts and it is like that they, by understanding deeply things, nature and other people, manage to mold themselves with the thing that they are observing. I think that understanding this concept is really important because we can do something, even if we are not poets, like denying our self for a period of time to understand better other people. Sometimes I think that people are too self-centered and self-confident that they do not really understand other people’s situations. In fact I think that if we use sometimes this capability, we will understand everything better and we will learn new things. But if we keep staying in our position and we focus only in our point of view we will never be actually part of a community. Moreover I want to highlight that the director of Get Altitude explains indirectly the pros of Negative Capability that can be used to manipulate people decisions. In fact he explains that if we use this skill we are able to understand other people, their thoughts and what they want. This can be seen both as a pros and a cons of Negative Capability because if we understand a person we can also behave in a way that hurts him/her.

  35. Iryna scrive:

    Negative Capability for John Keats is capability of a man to become someone else for a short period of time in order to understand better what an other person thinks and feels. In this way you investigate what is happening with this individual, his sensations and perhaps you are able to discover something new and profound about yourself, something which you have never thought about.
    I personally use this type of capability when I am trying to understand the reaction or behavior of someone with whom I disagree. I always (or almost always) try to put myself into this person’s shoes, and see what I would probably do in that specific case. After all this reasoning sometimes I start to realize that probably my first opinion was wrong, and I change or rethink it.
    It is obvious that the businessman from the video uses his knowledge of the typical behavior of people in order to become successful and rich, so he manipulates peoples weaknesses in a bad way, and not to help them.
    Semenyuk Iryna

  36. Valerio scrive:

    Negative capability
    As human beings, and first of all, as animal (because we should never forget that the human being is an animal) our relationship with things is possible just through our senses. Let’s try to focus on them and their effect on us: Wordsworth claims that the contact that we have with nature produces on us an “overflow of powerful feelings” and the “recollection in tranquility” of these feelings produces what he called poetry. The poet uses his senses in order to put the emotion on the paper, in front of the eyes of the reader. When Wordsworth wrote his ‘Preface to the Lyrical Ballads’ he referred to nature but poetry is not just nature, poetry can be everything, beauty can be found everywhere, since beauty, as Keats states, should be the real object of poetry. Although this is not enough in order to write a poem: Keats worked out a difficult but illuminating concept called ‘Negative Capability’. He says that Negative Capability is the faculty that a man has to stay in the mystery, in the unknown without feeling the need to give it a rational explanation. In other words we can say that it is also the ability to identify yourself with the object of your contemplation, forget, or better, negate (that’s why ‘Negative Capability’) yourself and try to become the object, the source of inspiration, of beauty, of truth and communicate it with poetry. In fact the aim of poetry is not to understand its meaning, giving it a rational explanation because, if it was so, poetry would be pointless. The aim of poetry is to get lost in its musicality, to escape from the ‘lethargy of costumes’ (to quote Coleridge) , open the eyes, look up and see things in a different way. This is Negative Capability, it is simply the capability to trust in our senses, the power to open ourselves to the other.
    Now, Negative Capability is not something that involves just poetry but it can be useful even in our life. To summarize what I said before in two words, Negative Capability is the power that a human being has to mold himself with the other. I think that a field that needs this capability is teaching. If we try to think about it, teaching is not just getting into a room full of students and starting speaking and spitting things out of our mouth, otherwise we would all be able to become teacher. I do think that a good teacher is the one that can understand the student that he or she has in front of his/her eyes and shape the lesson on him/her. On the other side, the student has to understand what the teacher wants and try to fit in it. In this way we grasp that teaching is something that involves a relationship between two people that should help one another just by trying to think in a different way from what they are used to. Anyway teaching is just an example because our life is made up of relationships , we are not an island. In order to live better, to live in peace with the other we should try to be a little bit ‘humbler’, negate ourselves and understand that the world is full of people that think in many different ways.
    Another example could be acting: when you act on a stage you do not act alone, it is a sort of teamwork; you always have to listen to your mate, get in contact with him, try not to think that you are better than him if you want the show to be a good show. But obviously it is the most difficult thing that an actor has to learn, since he is a human being too.
    As we can see Negative Capability, a concept that was elaborated at the beginning of the XIX century, is a ‘multitasking’. Someone has even worked out an application that in my opinion has misunderstood its real aim and meaning. The man of the video (I’m not going to repeat what he talks about, since we all watched it) quotes Keats’ Negative Capability in order to explain his method of making money: he simply wants to study who he has in front of him, identify himself with him in order to sell him something. He refers to the study of NLP. It is terrible, I think, to confuse Negative Capability with such a ‘scientific’ thing. Keats did not want to refer to a strategy to manipulate the other, because manipulation is something that you do for your own purpose. The real Negative Capability consist in breaking the narrow cages of our mind in order to live better with the other. So why should that businessman disturb Keats for a question of money?

  37. Yana Guerra scrive:

    The business man in the video talks about his strategy in order to deal his products. He talks about the facility of selling any kind of things identifying himself with people in front of him.
    Through this explanation he underlines the concept of “negative capability” of John Keats. In fact Keats said that “when a man is able to remain in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. Keats believed that men, especially poets, had the ability to accept that not everything can be resolved. Moreover he believed that the truth was not in science or philosophy, but in art. In his opinion not everything can be explained rationally and sometimes a lot of questions have not an answer.
    In my life a lot of things have not an explanation, for example: why my life takes this way? There is not an answer. Of course my life is built on my own choices, but not always. Sometimes bad things happen, to which there are no answers. A lot of people blame God because they need an explanation for what happens. Not everyone is able to use “negative capability”, in fact in our century, where everything and everyone is controlled by technology, we are easily gullible and we are not able to think with our own head. For example the television shows us a perfect world, in which everything is perfect and obviously we think that what is on the TV is the truth and it has led us to discrimination and racism. Advertising makes us believe that their products are perfect and the best of all, but these are just the things that they want us to see, feel and believe.

  38. Riccardo Sartori scrive:

    Keats, with the concept of “Negative Capability”, would explain the moment, in which human beings are full of uncerainties and mysteries and they don’t use reason due to solve these two conflicting sides. Therefore, Keats refers to the moment of a man, in which there are conflicts inside him and, instead of resolving it through the employment of reason, he stands still between these two opposites side. Keats thinks that we need to overshoot our attitudes and believes, which causes our rationallity and instead of thinking, we should remain in our doubts.
    We could find “negative capability” in our life, in lots of situations and we could adopt it in some siyuation. For example the in religion that we cannot solve doubts and mysteries throgh the use of rationallity; we can only accept them, experience this and and don’t feel the need to understand how and why they happen: we chave to sit between these ambiguities that afflict us. We need to use “negative capability”, in Keat’s opinion, in order to open our mind too, becuase, if we use rationality when we comunicate, we are chained in our beliefes and we don’t want to get rid of them; Comunication is the key world in order to be happy, but we need to contrast the unknow: therefore we need to open our mind with the people we are speaking to, when a dialogue; we are forged my mind-forged-menacles and we need to get rid of them, been open-minded people. When the poet can use his own “negative capability”, he could liberate themselves from the menacles or beliefes, by dialogues and sympthy.
    Another use of “negative capability” is mentioned by the man in the video, who exploits some key words in order to reach his goal and sold the most possible: he is very good in underlining the positive aspects of his dialogue and product and with this capability, he manipulates people due to buy his product, in some cases deceiving them.

  39. Virginia Nichilo scrive:

    In my view Negative Capability is something we should all in some way apply in our every day lives. With the expression Negative Capability John Keats defined his idea for which men should put aside, for a moment, their problems, doubts and insecurities so that they can better understand other people and try to see things from their point of view. In addition Keats defines Negative Capability as the ability to restrain from trying to rationalize everything. I particularly agree with this part of his ideology, as I think we often become fixated on finding a meaning to everything that we cannot enjoy the moment. I think this idea of always having to do something as a mean to and end and not just because we feel like it is excessively reinforced in our society, so much so that the few people that go against social rules are immediately defined as reckless.
    I think it would be great if people could try to put themselves in other people shoes but sincerely I do not see it occurring frequently and I do not think the situation will change in the near future; I find people are fixated in their idea and in their ways and they aim to achieve their own success disregarding other people’s needs completely.
    An example of this way of living is clearly demonstrated by the business man in the video we watched. He blatantly uses Keats’ own ideology to gain money and success. He uses Keats’ words to do the exact opposite of what the poet wanted to teach with them. Although this is one of the numerous demonstrations of manipulation, selfishness and disregard for other people, I think Keats hit the mark with his concept of Negative Capability and I hope his words can one day be heard, for what they are really trying to express.

  40. Emanuele Li Calzi scrive:

    Negative Capability.

    “Negative capability” is the ability to grasp mysteries, legends and doubts.
    More exactly is the power to experience the unknown, without having the claim to know it at the cost of one’s life. Often we pretend to know the oneiric, even if we do not have the capability to do it. For this reason we run up against an obstacle, which occurs when we put on an air of resignation and testiness. According to Keats “negative capability” allows us to understand the real essence of things. This kind of method pertain to poets, mainly. The poet has the faculty to disclaim his personal certainties to embodied himself with an object, which is the source of his inspiration.
    In a nutshell the poet rids himself of prejudices in order to seek sensations.

    Personal experience.

    Something similar happen to me when I play football. During the match, for example, I get irritated with the rival, or because I miss a goal, a pass.. I can not think no more.. I assume a behavior of resignation, testiness. I forget for a while that the essence of football is not the rage against opponents and the failed pass, but it is the pleasure I feel when I play to this game. By now is too late to thinking about, I played the game wrong.

    The Seller

    In my opinion the seller misuses the concept of “Negative Capability”. He studies this technique to understand the psychology of buyers in order to increase his sales. Unhappily he does not understand that it is wrong to apply this literary method to an economy one; because Keats’ “negative capability” was originally invented literature.
    On the other hand it is appreciable that John Keats is used, nowadays, also in the economic’s field.

    Emanuele Li Calzi

  41. Elena Ghersetti scrive:

    Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group . The psychologist Gordon Allport, says that Prejudices and stereotypes are a normal part of human thinking. These are needed to understand the world around us, and put it in order. I think that these may be useful at first, but then detach from them is necessary to have a real view of what surrounds us. Negative Capability relates to this. John Keats tells us to give up our prejudices, and our own truth and to put ourselves in a superior position, to be able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes in order to understand other ideas and passione and at last to be able to grasp the truth and beauty. This activity, however, is reserved only to poets, who through the imagination, and the suspension of judgment can grasp what ordinary people cannot, and then pass them to us, through poetry. The poet does not feel the need to immediately know the truth, in a scientific way . Rather, it remains open to the truth, waiting for it to come.
    I try to apply the negative capability to Religion. I consider myself agnostic , so I do not close my mind with the belief that God does not exist, but I rather leave it open and continue my research without excluding any possibility. I apply this kind of behaviour also to Love, where I don’t really wonder why I feel certain emotions, but I’m happy to try them, even if I do not know the reason of them. There are many things in the world that would need the negative capability, starting by wars , which could be avoided if there were no prejudices; and then to continue in a smaller scope, the school , where if there was a negative capability between students and teachers the relationship would be much more peaceful and positive.
    As regard the video, the man who speaks perhaps does not make a correct use of the concept of negative capability. He says that by putting ourselves in the shoes of another person, you can understand the feelings and emotions that then can be converted into currency. And this currency can take you very far. I think that Keats did not mean exactly this, and every time this concept is misunderstood, just like in this case, he turns over in his grave. He did not see things in the logic of profit, but in that of Art.

  42. Giada scrive:

    The man uses negative capability in a wrong way. He says that we can use it to see people’s weakness and to manipulate them. Negative capability is linked to the opportunity to make money, it is a discipline that a businessman learn to succeed.
    But according to Keats we can use negative capability to be closer to people, to understand their feelings, emotions and ideas. Negative capability is the key that helps us to know different cultures , religions and points of view. It is a sort of mind state, in where there is not prejudices and judges. Every person has got negative capability and it is also an involuntary action. For example when we see a homelessness, we do not have negative comments but we stop thinking for seconds. Negative capability helps us to imagine things about his life, feelings and we see the world through his eyes.
    We go beyond ourselves for a very short time but it is very important because thanks to it, we can have other perspective, without judges.
    In my opinion negative capability is not a quality that belongs to the poets only, but it belongs to every men.
    Negative capability is a sort of a relationship with our soul, that gets in touch with us. This could happen in every moment, in every circumstance and our soul brings us to a visionary world.
    In this world there is not discrimination we are free, we see the things that linked people and Country.
    Negative capability should be a discipline with whom human beings could understand diversity and have a world without wars and discrimination.

    Giada Blasut

  43. Serena Riservato scrive:

    According to Keats the “Negative Capability” is the capability the poet has to deny his certainties and personality. The poet is able to seek sensation, which is the basis of knowledge.
    For me it is the ability to contemplate the world without the desire to try and reconcile contradictory aspects because we have to accept the fact that not everything can be resolved. The man wants to know everything, but it is not possible. We have to accept the fate and the doubts.
    In our society this capability is almost disappeared because we absolutely want to find the reason of things. In my opinion the solution is to be able to be amaze, watching the world like through the eyes of a child. In this way we could appreciate the world in all its aspects.
    The man in the video is using the negative capability like a technique to persuade people he wants to capture human emotion and their values.

  44. Rossetti Elisabetta scrive:

    The theory of the “Negative capability” by john keats affirms that the poet does not look for scientific or philosophical truth, he just experiences the marvels which surround him through senses, he is completely phisycal in a physical world. The poet is compelled to immagine more than he can know or understand. He himself in the letter of December 1817 to his brothers describes this quality “which Shakespeare possesed so enormously, I mean negative capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. In order to feel or have the sense of facts, you have to empathize with them, be absorbed in what you are experiencing forgetting yourself for a while. In the film we saw the poet tells Fanny Brawne “the point to dive in a lake is not immediately to swimm to the shore, but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water”. In my opinion, negative capability can be associated to a way of life which does not look for solutions to problems but it just wallows in the mire without getting out of it. This approach to life can be usefull for an artist because he can have the role to make us understand all the aspects, good or bad of reality. On the countrary, ordinary people has to face the problems of everyday life and solve them, otherwise we will be swept away by facts.
    As far as the video of the man that uses “Negative capability” concernes, I think he manipulates his audience, simulating to empathize with them. This technique sounds like something illegal, such as “circonvenzione di incapace” or that you want to sell something that is not what you are affirming. He stimulates the deepest feelings, needs and aspirations in order to make his profit.

  45. Silvia Piol scrive:

    A man once said: ” Imagine there’s no heaven; it’s easy if you try…”. This man was John Lennon and those words are taken from the one song that is probably Lennon’s most famous song, that is “Imagine”. However author and title are not important. Those words are important because of their meaning. I will now try to explain Keats’ concept of “negative capability” starting from them. Lennon’s first word in the song is “imagine”. He’s encouraging us to use that great ability all human beings are endowed with, that is imagination. This kind of imagination is Coleridge’s secondary imagination, that is the ability to create something new, to create a new world, our own world. Since it is our OWN world, we are free to put anything we want inside it. So we can create a world where “there’s no heaven”. We, as human beings and as Christians especially, we are accustomed to believe that there’s heaven. When we look up to the sky we see heaven and hell. This equation Sky=hell\heaven is the result of what we were taught by our parents. It is a belief. Something we cannot be totally sure about but that we accept as something that was encapsulated in our mind since we were kids. Our mind usually tends to be rigid in the sense that we tend to defend our beliefs. Because they are ours. Because we have grown up with them. Because they are a part of us. You cannot easily get rid of something that is yours. This is why we don’t want to get rid of our beliefs, of our certainties. Even because “you know what you leave but you don’t know what you will find”, in the sense that you know that you’re going to eliminate your old thoughts but you don’t know what you’re going to replace them with. Human beings have always been afraid of the unknown. Though the Romantic concept of the sublime teaches us that we are kind of fascinated by what we fear. Keats says with his concept of “negative capability”, that we have to be courageous enough to experience ”uncertainties, mysteries, doubts”. We have to take a step further as regards facts and things connected with our material experience and float into the unknown because there the truth lies. Just if we move away from our old ideas and take a step into other ideas, the others’ ideas for example, we can understand what’s true, we can reach a form of objectivity. To make what I’ve just said a little bit more concrete, I want to share my own experience as regards as the application of Keats’ “negative capability” is concerned. I have a cousin and she believes in dianetics. Dianetics is a life philosophy. A life philosophy that’s slightly different from mine and my family’s. Well, when I was a child I used to think that it was wrong. Because my great grandparents said it. Because my aunts and uncles said it. Because I was weak as Keats’s “common man” and had not the strength to create my own vision on the subject. As I grew up I’ve started to change my attitude. During the time I spent with my cousin I tried to imagine what dianetics meant to her and which could be the benefits that came from living your life with that principles supported by her life philosophy. I cannot say that I agree with them all but some of them have turned to be good even for me. Furthermore this has allowed me to penetrate into my cousin’s soul and in so doing I’ve understood her better.
    This is the positive way to use “negative capability”, that is being sympathetic with other people but of course there’s a negative way as well. Business people use this power to “become someone else” and understand someone else’s needs just to direct the market and therefore to make money. That’s selfish and it is not what Keats was thinking of when he formulated his concept of “negative capability”.

  46. Basma Saykouk scrive:

    “La Belle Dame sans Merci” Frank Dicksee.

    In the painting of Frank Dicksee,my favorite one, I find the “beuty” and the actual representation of Keats’s message. In the painting,the lady is represented as a fairy,magic and superhuman creature with an apparent innocence,angelic and bright face,but with her eyes wild,completely fails to enthrall and control the knight. In order to Keats, the woman is both angelical and diabolical. Although it has a pure appearance that deceives,it is a misterious figure,that with her wild eyes;and faery songs,it’s able to make every man in thrall. It’s a figure so misterious and magic,that the man ( knight) who meets her seems to dream. Infact this is the main aspect that I would analyze in the painting: the knight it’s unable to speak,he can’t do anything,he just stare at her,shocked,surprised,amazed. Amazed from such purity,beuty,fairy innocence. He is completely surrendered. It’s she who controls the horse and guide the knight. She has all the control on him,who is bewitched and resigned. I really like the background of the painting ( wild,full immersion in nature) because it gives the greatest and the necessary dimension of the mystery and magic,where it all happens.

  47. Leonardo Bidoia scrive:

    The painting that I like most is that of Frank Cadogan Cowper because is of all, in my opinion, one that faithfully represents the cruel and fatal charm of the Belle Dame sans merci. The knight lying at her feet and hardly known, the woman is on top and is instead dressed in red so as to be noticed and admired for her beauty. The painting is fascinating and at the same time very dramatic.
    In my opinion, clearly expresses the power that woman has to man: for how much you resist she capture you forever.

  48. MartinaBravin scrive:

    Comment of the video about “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
    I prefer the third video of the three suggested. In fact it is the most similar to a true lesson in class, and this teacher explained the topic in a very simple way. He used lots of synonymous to get clearer the exposition, but above all he used to compare the described situation, with the present reality. The latter aspect has helped me also to understand not just the meaning of the discussion but also the Keats’poem. Besides the support of the text, that he read during the lesson, it’s an aid to match it with the explanation.
    I ran just into a problem, because of his pronunciation: it wasn’t always clear and some words was understandable, especially when he didn’t look into the camera.

  49. Sara Nicastro scrive:

    Negative Capability consists in forgetting, for one moment, ourselves and try to expand our identity towards what we are not. Negative Capability, then, should help us to improve our souls, our ‘being human’; if spirits could be represented on a stairway where the more elevated we are the closer we stay to heaven, Negative Capability should help us leaving the ground behind and let us understand better the world where we live and the people we’re surrounded by. I say “should” because through the understanding of others it is possible to have a great power on them; not only businessmen but everyone, if capable of being somebody else, can make everything. Understanding, not defense, is the best attack; because in the deepest places of our nature we all want somebody who is not just a friend to go shopping with, but somebody who is as we are, who is we after all. Negative Capability, then, is like a pen: you can use it to write a beautiful poem or to throw a curse, the decision is up to the person.

  50. Andrea Moras scrive:

    I prefer most the painting of Frank Dicksee because of the colors , the setting
    of the picture and the fidelity at the ballad. For example this picture is
    faithful at the ballad because the girl wears a garland of flowers in her head
    or because the girl is on the horse. The figure of the “femme fatale” is noted
    by the position of control and superiority of the girl compared to the knight.
    The man is totally subjected at the will of the fair, that uses her sexual
    power to control the knight. The man is totally submitted to the fair, he is
    totally fallen in love for her and he has eyes only for her. I like this
    picture because it shows love that would have a tragic consequences. Her look
    to him demonstrate her bad intentions. This picture shows the situation when
    love is a trap. The attraction can be very strong that it can drag a person
    even to death. Finally I prefer this picture because it has a very beautiful
    colors, in my point of view, that they bring out the meaning of the scene.

    • Giulia Bertacco scrive:

      Giulia Bertacco

      “Negative capability” is the ability to identify with others, to imagine yourself in their position, to sympathize with the other human beings . It means that you try to catch the emotions a person feels in a certain moment, and you try to become that person to understand his/her pain or joy. The people, who are endowed with this capability are able to understand profoundly another’s person feeling and they don’t judge them, but they accept them for what they are. More precisely, concerning the role of the poet, having the “Negative Capability” means that a poet when wants ,for example, to write a poem about love doesn’t express his views about this feeling, but he expresses what love is for another person as he has understood it.
      In my opinion, “Negative Capability” can be useful in life, because it enables you to understand others, to consider other points of view, without necessarily accepting them, but considering that there are different ways to perceive the same feeling, problem and so forth.
      I think the man who is talking in the video doesn’t respect what “Negative Capability” was for John Keats. In fact, while for John Keats it was the ability to feel sympathy towards another human being, the man in the video considers it as a way to have success in business: he sees it as a way to use other people’s feelings and needs to make money.

  51. Francesca Lovisa scrive:

    The lecture I like best is the second one, the lecturer used a language very easy to understand, I really liked how he contrasted the Ode on a Grecian Urn to one of Shakespeare’s sonnets and explained their different view on artwork; for Keats art is dead, stagnant, you can’t have ecstasy and beauty and life at the same time, instead for Shakespeare it is immortal as long as people have ears to hear and eyes to see. He also explained the different visions of beauty and truth, while the other teachers did not, how from the urn perspective they are the same but for a living person they are not, because beauty has to change and we have to experience much more to understand what real beauty, truth and love are. I think he would appeal to me the most, as after watching all the videos he was the one I could remember most about and in just 6 minutes he was able to convey the important points of the analysis of the poem and I did not need to watch it multiple times to understand what I had to focus on.

  52. jessica scrive:

    The teacher I like best is the third: explaining Keats’s ode he inserts common life references that help us to focus on the concrete meaning of the author’s message and I hthink this is the best way to captivate student’s attention because It makes literature seem something not too distant to us. Moreover, these connection ride us to assume the author’s point of view. So, the combination of these two elements impress in our mind notions which otherwise may be learnt superficially, as mere sentences of many books, maybe without a concrete meaning. An other thing I consider useful is the suddivision of the text in many parts in order to give us the posibility to follow the logical thread, finally, to keep the book open referring to it, as he does, makes the lesson simpler and better organized in our notes and our mind

  53. Rossana Solari 5^H scrive:

    To Keats, Negative Capability is the process for which man temporarily denies himself concerning personal belifs and experience. He wonders into mystery and uncertainties and he does not feel the urge to find reason.
    His mind is bare, he is able to sympathize with the object of his thought so to become the same object.
    Reality is different from man to man, negative capability allows to identify the reality of the object in quetion.
    Eben Pagan undermines Keat’s capability into a technique, which is able to understand more deeply the customer’s needs to take advantage of the situation and profit from it.
    This is surely a successful method largely used in commerce.
    The only application of negative capability I could find in my life (besides literature) was that of holding back my personal ego so as to be able to focus on and sympathize with others. You will never be able to understand people’s different feelings if you cannot put aside your personal self.

  54. Matteo scrive:

    “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is Keats’s most difficult and beauty work. We see that in these three videos because this man are trying to explain the concept that Keats wanted to explain. I don’t like none the videos because I think that none of that can explain perfectly this concept. The first video emphasize the immortality of the urn and at the and the concept:” Beauty is truth and truth is beauty, that is all you know on earth and all you need to know”. The second focus on the concept of Keats’s irony and for that I think that it’s too personal and it point out the reality of love and truth. The third focuses the attention on the images of the urn and it’s a too superficial analyses to understand all the poem. If we want to understand all the poem we have to link the three videos and we have the complete analysis of it, because we will have the urn description, the concept of immortality of art and in it truth and beauty and a personal interpretation.

  55. Sara Marini scrive:

    If I didn’t misunderstood, the “negative capability” is the skill that particular human beings have (for Keats they were poets) to minimize your beliefs, feelings, emotions and perceptions in order to enter in someone other’s shoes. In this way, this person puts himself behind,stops himself somehow and alienates from his own life point of view to feel the other’s feeling and sensations and understand why the other feels in a certain way, why is he sad or why is he happy…
    So in my point of view it is some kind of empathy: you can feel and deeply undestand another person (ore even another thing, as Keats did with “ode on a grecian urn”): is not just simply see thing on the surface but going through, inside things.
    I thinks it would be beautiful if people could do it! As an example, if I have a problem and I know that someone can seriously and deeply understand how i feel about it, I would be relieved, because I would know someone is here to help.
    People can share their point of view, their emotions and they may be reassured.
    For me personally it is a very usefull concept because i’ve always loved understand and help people somehow, and since further I want to pursue a career that includes psychology and criminology, it would be very usefull for me to “practice” this idea.

    Of course the man in the video highlights that there is even a dark side of “negative capability”: he tries to understand what a person or a group of people want and then take advantages on the situation, to make money and be able to grasp and intercept the way to earn as more as possible
    Otherwise this concept should be used as something to help people and not to make money and economic benefits.

  56. Leonardo Bidoia scrive:

    Between the three lessons I certainly prefer the first one because even though it’s as short and simple, it is much more profound than the others and, in my opinion, the teacher puts a lot of passion in what he does: the result is a comprehensive explanation and at the same time simple and effective.
    About the concept of art for Keats, I agree with the poet because I think that art, in whatever form, is the only way to escape from reality, and is the only means of immortality.
    Keats said that only the dead are immortal and the only way to achieve immortality is the art.
    I believe that immortality is just for a few, very few, and the only way to reach it is the greatness, which may be due to causes positive and negative. So immortality there is something puesuiable , but only acquirable.

  57. Giulia Girardi scrive:

    I am sure that if Keats was still alive, he would challenge us with his concept of “negative capability”: I think that it would be extremely difficult for us to renounce our certainties, our beliefs and the knowledge to which we rely on every day for everything. We live in a world where everything has a rational meaning, everything we do has a specific aim and it is meant to push ourselves away from the doom of the unknown, of mystery, of irrational. Therefore many of us would reject the challenge of putting themselves to the test of leaving their body their own mind their own ideas their sources of comprehension their eyes with which they think they understood the world in the right way. Personally speaking, I admit that sometimes I try to leave my body and enter the one of someone else because I think that if we limit us seeing the world only with our eyes, just in the same way every time, we do not advance and we risk remaining at the same state forever, that is remaining with the same convictions, points of view for all the life.

    I am glad to see that many of the most important intellectuals, writers and poets of the 8th and 9th century came to Italy, to our Nation.. that’s incredible and if I think that there is the house where Shelley and Keats used to live for a short period, I am proud twice of this Country. But the thing that makes me sad is that although such a source of culture is situated in Italy and accessible to everyone, just a small number of Italians go to visit it. We do not realize the amount of culture Italy preserves and we take it for granted: in fact the sort of museum created in the famous house is administrated by GB’s Government. I think it is important but even useful visiting the places a famous writer or poet was used to frequent because most of the time they reflect the intellectual’s attitudes and give us useful information and traits that we would never know. Furthermore for me it is such an experience finding oneself in the same place that used to “protect” and support the ideas the thoughts the feelings of an author.

  58. Simona Mastrapasqua scrive:

    Watching the three video lessons I like especially the second, because there is a man who speaks but he often connects images that illustrate better the concepts, for exemple when he explains the Ode he highlights the involved lines. Moreover he has included more concepts than the others in five minutes. In this moment I wouldn’t want any of the three professors, maybe since I don’t feel ready for this level, but also because I’m successful in comprehending more my teacher. However in the future I think that the teacher of the second video it’s more appropriate to me. In fact I really liked his way of speaking , through different pitch for emphasising the most important things. or through gestures. Then I think that he uses a flowing and educational english. In the other hand the professor spoke more , but there are few important concepts, he focused above all on the effect given by images on the Urn. Personally he seems to have a bored attitude, as if was obliged to make that lesson. In the first video the teacher has a more monotonous style and I had to hear again a phrase many times. So in my opinion the second video it’s the best work between the three about the Ode on a Grecian Urn.

  59. Veronica scrive:

    Of the three videos on the lesson that I liked the most is the first because it is where I was able to understand more . The professor speaks slower than the other two and try to explain things in a clear and simple way . He don’t use to read the text as it tries to explain the meaning of the ode in a simpler way and with his own words what is more emphasis on the message that the author wants to give the reader and is enclosed in the last two verses of the ode : ” Beauty is truth , truth beauty , – that is all
    Ye know on earth , and all ye need to know ” . Urn is left to man to give this message , which is that beauty is truth and truth is beauty . Poet becomes a mediator and writes this poem to man understand what it meant. truth about life is often brutal and in the real world is no doubt that beauty and truth may be, but is not the poet tells us to say it, but the urn . Beauty and truth are only in the art world , only immortal .

  60. Mattia De Camillis Baiocchi scrive:

    The video that I prefer form the three suggested is the third. I think that is the best because the teacher in this video is explaining the “ode on an ancient urn” to a real audience, a class probably. This is better than the other explanations because the teacher uses more words to gave  his audience  a simply way to understand this poem. I don’t like the first because the explanation is too short and doesn’t give me some examples to understand better the ode. Finally I don’t like the second one because is like an explanation that is given to you from a museum’s guide and this kind of lessons bored me.

  61. Basma Saykouk scrive:

    Sincerely, I don’t have a favourite video more than the others,but from each one I analyzed the significant and important aspects I liked most. In the first video,there is a very detailed and comprehensive explanation of the poem. In particular,I gave more importance to the final and different interpretation of the main message of Keats: “Beuty is truth,truth is Beuty that is all, Ye know on earth,and ye all need to know”.
    In fact, in life it’s very difficult and doubt that beuty may coincide with the truth. We have to distinguish the real world from the Ideal. In Art we can find the perfection,but we don’t have to get lost in it, this would mean to lose totally the contact with the rest of world,that it’s indespensable for us,and our survival.
    The second video is focused on the theme of “desire” and eternity, he explained and talked about the musicality. The perfect instant is froze in time,for ever. In order to Keats; art remain in eternity,man is mortal,but he can be immortal; immortality is given by Art. We can create immortality.
    The third video,the main question is: “why does Keats find ecstasy and beuty immortalising the moment of desire? I agree with the professor,in love ,lovers should grow and die toghether,forever. Love should be the fullness of consumation. I enjoyed,the comparison done with Shakespeare,where you may have love,beuty,life in the same moment,same time. The last aspect that caught my attention more,is to attribute at expression of “happy love” a sense of irony. How and where you can see love and hapiness in a Urn,used to hold the ashes of cremates bodies?
    The Ode of a Grecian Urn,is a snapshot photograph of the eternal hapiness,the perfect moment frozen in time.

  62. Xheni Mullahi 5^H scrive:

    I think that “Negative Capability” is a state of no feelings , no emotions. I mean Keats said that in a situation of fear or mistery somehow we have to be impassive, but I think this is unnatural because it is impossible to do it because of our experiences, because of our being human. Maybe for a real poet it can be passible, but for me personally is too difficult to understand. We are always influenced by our perceptions or our prejudices an it would be an illusion to think that we can avoid these ” conceptions” . The man in the video says that we have to zoom on the object and somehow reaching a synchrony with it, so you have to concentrate and analize the situation and let the situation analize you back. It is like a meditation when you reflect as a mirror the characteristics of the moment . I am not able to do that, I mean, I can’t not listen the famous voice in my mind, I can’t stop my experience and not dare her to influence my reactions.

  63. Madalina Pavel scrive:

    I did not like one particular lesson. I think my ideal lesson would be a mix of the three. From the first I would keep the brevity and simplicity. From the second I would keep the lively way of speaking that draws the attention. From the third I’d take the fact that he has contextualized the work, and that he does not take for granted anything. As a student i would appeal to the third lesson, becouse it is more detailed.

  64. Emanuele scrive:

    This videos are different from each other. The first video speaks only of the immortality of art and the concept of beauty and truth. I do not like the first video because the professor speak quickly and do not involve you. In the second video, that is my favorite, the professor speak about the irony of John Keats that know that love cannot be experienced in a single moment like in the urn but like the trees, love have to be experience all seasons. Then he empathize that for the urn beauty and truth are the same thing, but for a living person they are not the same because beauty have to change in alter and the truth is that we all of us have to move towards death. Finally the third video tell us John keats’ s life and focus the attention on the images of the urn, giving us a superficial analysis of the poem. The professor also tell us his personal opinion trying to actualize the ode, but he is not very clear.

  65. Tommaso scrive:

    The third teacher’s lecture is the one I prefer, he’s yiung and very cool, every piece of art that we see like a painting or like in this case an urn is a way of looking into life; for example on the urn there are snap shots of life. The teacher explains with simple words but very effective and above all ge seems to capture the studentz interest by talking abiut different scenarios, different types of art. Right from the beginning he uses z cartoon to explain what actually a Greek urn was usedfor, I like this because it seems to me that the teacher tries to make it easier for the students to understand art andwhat Keat meant with the Ode he wrote. He also gives an overview of who Keat was and what he had achieved. Then, he speaks about the urn decribing it in every detail , describing its different panels ;he tells his students to imagine being in a museum, this allows them to use their imagination whichis vrry important because we shoul always try to use our imagination where it is possible, by doing this things become less static; there can actually be a story behind. By explaining a painting he saw, durin a convention, with other students he explains how details are very important, he explains that the painting tells a story and that it is useful spending time just looking at it, so with the urn, it also tells a story. The teacher points out how all the pictures are sno shots of life, some are sad others are happy just like life. The two lovers, painted on the urn will never know if thy will kiss. What is interesting is that we never will actually what will happen next because on the urn we have only fragments of life , moments that have no end.

  66. Giulia Fren scrive:

    I preferred the third lesson of the video. The teacher in his explanation was not too formal and made you feel good, the topics covered were expressed with simplicity but at the same time were complete. I found very helpful the fact that he repeated the same concepts with synonyms or other words because this way helps a student memorizing a lot of the arguments, however, in this way he shows many ways to express the same thing. I found very interesting connections and comparisons with current events, they help better centering the theme, to understand the true meaning and also makes stimulating to study the poem.

  67. Elisa Angelica Farinola scrive:

    The lecture I like best is the second one because the teacher is really good at talking about this difficult Ode, especially thanks to the body language of his man.
    The first was too short and not complete, while the third is explained with basilar vocabulary and is not appropriated to a class lesson.
    That’s why I preferred the second personally, besides the video is integrated with images that make us focus the issue better.

  68. Lara De Piero scrive:

    In my opinion the “negative capability” is an opportunity we have to deny our own personality in order to become impersonal and to judge things in a different way: namely, it is the ability we have to accept things without looking into reasons, is the ability, as John Keats said, to accept “uncertainties, mysteries, doubt, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”. So I think sometimes we should resort to our “negative capability” in order to understand better other people or even the events that occur around us: in fact, we always relate to everything going back to our own experience and so we have a rational approach to things: for this reason I think everyone should deny himself/herself for a while and put him/her in somebody else’s shoes, namely see things from another point of view. Such an example, the man in the video, who is a businessman, explains that he uses the concept of “negative capability” to improve the relationship with the customer: in fact, he says that when you put your own staff aside, when you stop your own staff and then simulate someone else’s one, you see things with the eyes of another person and therefore when you think what your customer wants, you can success. All things considered, I would say that we have to see the world with different eyes because we are for definition “rational”, but in the most cases we behave as irrational beings (and I don’t say “human” because when we behave in an irrational way we are just beings).

  69. Sara Marini scrive:

    I really like the third painting made by Frank Cadogan Cowper.
    In my opinion in this picture the women is very close to the one described in the poem. (“Full beautiful/Her hair was long”..)
    She is beautiful and she does no want to hide it. She is in the middle of the canvas and she attracts the observer, in the same way she does with the knight in the ballad.
    The knight lies down beneath her, he seems submissive but even ill or on the edge of death, as in the poem, and not only sleeping.
    All around them there is nature, and this is connected with the poem because the lady is the daughter of a fairy.
    I think both in the painting and in the ballad there is an ambiguity: the lady is nice, pure and she seems kind and gentle but she also reflects that she has a power, beauty, and she can use it for attract and submit men (even powerfull one like kings,princes and knights)

  70. Michele scrive:

    The painting I liked the most was the one of Frank Dicksee, which represents the very moment when the lady seduces the knight. I chose this picture because I think it resembles the description of the knight, pale and disoriented. He is caught by her beauty, almost hypnotized. The author, in my opinion, wanted to emphasize the figure of the lady, who is on her horse and stands higher level in the painting than the knight. The unnatural position of the lady is symbolic of her supernatural power

  71. Andrea Moras scrive:

    I prefer most the second video. I prefer it for the style of the professor and for his how to ask. I prefer it also for the way he gesticulates and for the variou tipes of slides that he slides in the video. His english is very understandable. In the first video, in my opinion, the teacher is very boring and the quality of the video is poor. I prefer most a speaker that involves his public. The third video is a shooting of a lesson in class. This video not involved me a lot because there is only one framing and because the english is more difficult in comparision to the other two videos. I prefer a video that changes framing a lot because for me are more interesting and involving

  72. Luana scrive:

    I prefer the first and the second video because it explain in very good way the topic of the Ode of a Grecian Urn.
    The first is only a summary that allows us to understand in an easy way what is said in the ode; the second investigates the spirtual concept o truth and beauty. Together thay can explain us in few minutes which is the most important aspect of the Keats’s Ode.

  73. Xheni Mullahi 5^H scrive:

    Xheni Mullahi 5^H
    My favorite picture is the one by Frank Cadogan Cowper. I think it shows perfectly the consuming of love, because the knight is “fallen” in the river and the lady seems fairy and at the same time impassive as like the Belle Dame in Keats.
    The colours are bright and sharped .
    This image reminds me another painting, the one by John Everett Millais called “Ofelia”
    I think this two painting are similar!

  74. Pitton Elisa scrive:

    John Keats is the first one to introduce the concept in poetry of “negative capability “. In a nutshell this is the ability of the poet to deny himself and also identify himself with something or someone else; to put aside his ego and accept a new point of view. Through this Keats could live his short life enjoying every moment and emotion. Even we, we can learn from the teachings of Keats, how to take advantage of this possibility that he offers us. In my opinion it would be beneficial to use the “negative capability” within our social life. If we tried to put ourselves in the shoes of the people that we face every day, there would be no prejudices nor any form of racism , no one would suffer for being discriminated, nor should FIGHT to be treated equally to others (because it would be something natural).
    According to me the man in the video is not misusing the concept of “negative capability”. Obviously this is reinterpreted and applied in the economic field, partly losing the meaning it had for Keats. But I agree with the idea that an entrepreneur, to succeed, must think as the future consumers to meet their needs and sell better products or services.

  75. Pitton Elisa scrive:

    The painting that I like the most is that of Frank Dicksee. It represents the scene of the ballad exactly as I imagined it in my mind. The lady has long red hair and she is wearing on her head a garland of white flowers (“I made a garland for her head”). Although the knight is still doning his armour, he took off his helmet and opens his arms helpless, ready to abandon himself to the love of the fairy’s child. In my opinion, it is no coincidence that the artist has chosen to seat the woman on the horse, so that she can dominates the knight while he is looking at her enchanted. (In addition he respects the scene described by Keats “I set her on my pacing steed”)
    I like the fact that you can even see the face of the knight, because he assumes a more important role in the painting. The colors are light and soft, giving the idea of the dream before the nightmare.

  76. Lara De Piero scrive:

    I really like the second painting, the one made by Frank Dicksee, because it seems to me the closest to the poem. In according to what John Keats wrote, they are in the meadow, there is the lake and she looks beautiful: she has long flowing hair, she is on his horseback and she wears the garland, the bracelets and the belt of flowers he made for her (“I made a garland for her head, and bracelets too, and fragrant zone […]). Moreover she is bending towards him, perhaps to kiss him, and we see that she has him in her will: namely he is pale, staggering and submissive; indeed he is intimated by her disarming beauty, just as in the ballad. Furthermore I love the canvas because of the atmosphere the painter created: he represented the sunset with its characteristic light and colours and so the scene seems real and not just imagined; in the bargain I think he wanted to give the observer a message: we are always attract by beauty, but we should pay more attention because it could mislead us.

  77. Noemi scrive:

    The painting I like the most is the Frank Dicksee one. I think it shows very well the fact that the knight is obsessively in love with the lady to the point of being ill. In fact he is pale, which this is a word that Keats uses frequently in this poem, and he hangs on the horse’s rein, almost falling asleep like he will do at the end of the poem. The fairy is represented as beautiful but has something that makes who watches the painting a little anxious because she is leaning on the horse to hypnotize the knight with her fairy song. It seems as if she wants to make him see her better because she loves him just as long as he admires her beauty. The landscape is like the poem one, there are some hills and they are in a meadow, but the season is not: there are flowers that are the not lilies nor roses, which are mentioned in the poem, but other flowers that are the symbol of spring instead of fall. The light is the typical sunset one and shines on the scene, to emphasize the fact that the knight is going to be bilked by the “femme fatale”.

  78. Giulia Girardi scrive:

    I must admit that every painting is pretty beautiful and it is difficult to choose just one of them because every single one portrays one aspect of the poem it is inspired from: for example Arthur Hughes decided to draw the spirits of a princess and of a king which tries to warn the knight about the power of hypnotizing of the wicked lady; or Frank Dicksee, who preferred portraying the impact the faery had on the knight, who has a pale face.
    However I chose the first one made by Waterhouse because this painting reproduces the feelings both of the lady and of the knight: by seeing this scene the spectator perceives the full perdition of the man, who cannot reject the lady’s eyes fixed on his ones. The knight abandons his body, he is no more able to control himself and decides to leave the present, his capabilities, his mind in order to become property of the lady. But in this painting the woman is not represented as a wicked child’s faery, in her eyes there is something deep and passionate which reveal her love for the knight, true love as she says to him in the poem. The expression of the knight conveys his disorientation, his fear caused by the impossibility of controlling his feelings and his heart, his mind is blurred with passion and pleasure given by the attitude of the lady.
    There are even lilies on the landscape, symbols of death which in the poem are a foreboding of an imminent end for the knight.

  79. Mattias Gerometta scrive:

    To my mind, Negative Capability is at the same something magic and something which our desire to have always some more. Magic because it is the right moment when mind and body melt their links, and mind tries to escape, in order to penetrate in the other’s private feelings. We have to reset it, if we want to understand what the other is feeling. We can’t possibly understand something we can’t feel, it’s a matter of fact. Just for the time we need, we must deny our personality, we have to doubt of what we take for granted. I know, it seems something irrational and even stupid, but you can’t relate rationally with the material inconsistency of the world of feelings, thoughts and imagination. Paradoxically, the man in the video finds a rational use of this irrational way: a seller can use it to understand the customer and discover what to do to convince him.
    I said something which show our desire of overreach , because this theory proves that we want always something more, in this case to know what feels a person who is completely different from us, even if we think we know him.

    The paint I appreciated the most is the Franck Dicksee’s one. I immediately chose it because it evokes me the same fairy and epic atmosphere the ballad transmitted me the first time I read it. It is the one that better represents the idea I had of the characters: pale, disoriented and under the effect of the spell the knight; beautiful, temptress and at the same time cruel the lady. I also liked the use of the light: it marks the knight and the lady, who stand out compared to the landscape, which reflects the ambiguity of the situation:it is bright and full of life foreground, darker and colder in the background. The only thing I don’t like of the painting is inelastic position of the knight, but I think that the author did it on purpose, to enforce the idea that the knight is hypnotized.

  80. Sara Pavan scrive:

    The concept of Negative Capability is the ability to contemplate the world without the desire of giving a unique answer. The poet does not have – and should not have – the arrogance to think that he is able to find out the truth in every single thing, but he has the role of accompany the reader in that travel which is called life, in order to give him knowledge and support through poetry. The poet sympathies with the reader, because there are certain moments in life, when you feel very close to a specific person, due to the feelings and the emotions that join you to that person, therefore the poet puts down in word his emotions, then the reader will capture the deep meaning of the poet’s words and will learn something more about himself. According to my opinion and to my personal experience, the poet has the role of means between the reader and his self-knowing, in fact the poet does not express openly his personal point of view, but he lets the reader extract it. That is way the poet knows for sure that there could not be a unique answer, because everyone gives his own answer. That is my own interpretation of the Negative Capability and we can see it at work every day, for example when we watch television or when we listen to the radio. Often we listen to music just because we are used to do it, because it is a constant presence in our life, but when we linger on the words of the lyrics, a new world encloses to us. What I mean is, that sometimes, we listen to songs in a superficial way; we understand the words, but not their meaning. It is happened to me, when I was younger, to sing along the song, knowing the lyrics by heart. But then I listen to some songs after a long time and they has gained a new meaning, they are deeper. I reached the conclusion, that maybe I grew able to understand what the singer want to say and I reflect my feelings in those of the song. Maybe because I have became more mature and I have made more “experience” of what life is. This is my idea of Negative Capability in my daily life!
    Sara Pavan

  81. Sara Pavan scrive:

    I like the most the picture of Frank Dicksee, first of all because it is a wonderful work of art. I think that the use of colours and the light are amazing. Then I like it, because I think that it represent at best Keats’s poet “La belle dame sans merci”, which is a poet about rough love. It tell the story of a valiant knight, who fall in love with a wonderful woman. In this poet the woman have a sort of negative connotation, because she has the role of tempter. Nowadays we would have called her a “femme fatal”. She managed to bewitch the unaware knight with her hypnotizing eyes. In this painting the woman is riding the horse, while the knight is on his foot. That means that the knight is under the power of the woman, who keep the contact with him with her eyes. The work is very realistic and represent the scene as I saw it in my mind when I first read the poet.
    Sara Pavan

  82. Alessia B. 5^H scrive:

    I think the first painting is the one which best represents the poem, since it looks like the knight is trying to leave, whereas she is trying to hold him back in a firm but still subtle way. She looks at him in a seductive way and the miserable knight is entrapped by her beauty and looks totally submitted to the lady, who is in control of everything and aware of her power.

  83. Alessia B. 5^H scrive:

    I totally agree with the man of the video, since being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and therefore “deny” yourself is one of the basis of economy: in order to be sure to sell a product and make the most out of it, you have to be able to understand what the customer is most willing to buy, what he really wants. That is , for example, what Google(as an example) is doing: whenever we use it, it records the web pages we visit and then suggests us to try pages and products we might like, based on our interests. It might appear as a violation of our privacy but, in fact, that’s just one of the consequences we must pay in order to have better services. Using Negative Capability as a mean to make profit, to me, is not necessarily something negative but something we do everyday, even if we don’t realize it. Whenever we do something, we expect to receive something back, be it a friend’s gratitude or our own satisfaction. And Negative Capability is the one that enables us to do that and to better understand other people’s minds, so that we can better understand the world we live in and try to get the best out of it.

  84. Giulia Marson scrive:

    Dear John,

    I’m so far from you. I would like to hug and kiss you again. I wish life was less hard with us. How can you finds those words which penetrate my bosom and go through my soul? I can’t describe all those emotions I feel when I think about you. Our love is like a hurricane. We are so far and so close at the same time, my desire to hold you close to me is everyday stronger. I can’t stand anymore having you only for few moments, during which my heart is broken at the idea of leaving you again! We’ve never enjoyed a lovely spring together yet. We’ve been through bad times which made our relationship hard to live, but only being together we can overcome this pain that strikes us. No one on this earth could ever appease this deep love we feel, that binds us together now and forever. I wish I could have you here, hold you close to me and tell you how I feel when I’m with you. You’ve ravished my heart and taken me over. The distance between us will never be able to erase all the memories. You an I, two bodies, one heart, one soul

    Your love

  85. Elena Ghersetti scrive:

    The video that I liked the most is definitely the second. The video itself is very well done because the filming of the lecturer is interspersed with slides where the main steps are highlighted. This technique makes the explanation clearer, especially for anyone that is not a mother tongue speaker. The lecture is clear and quite essential. The teacher is quite likeable because of the pink tie and the painted background. Of the first video I appreciated its brevity, and the fact that I was able to understand almost everything at the first listening. It looks like an university professor with a lot of experience and this gives me confidence. With regard to the third video, it was a bit complicated to follow, probably because the lecturer is American and it was filmed during a real lesson, and was not a video made on purpose; but the professor seemed very approachable.
    So in conclusion, I think that the best video is the second, because there have been used techniques that make it all clear, but I think that if I had to follow a live lecture I’d rather have a teacher like the one in the third video (maybe English!)

  86. Riccardo Sartori scrive:

    These three videos explains very well Keat’s poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn”. The one that I like less is the first video, in which the man explains the themes of the five stanzas in a clearly way, especially the end. However, in my opinion, he did not develop so much the poem; he reads it to us, giving only the essencial information about Keat’s work. Maybe he has to be deeper in the analysis, creating a sort of interaction with the audience and make us feel more involved.
    The second video is the one that best explains “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, thanks even to the use of slides, which show the links between the words in a single stanza. I find it extremely clear in order to understand some passages, that maybe I wouldn’t have found by myself. Even the use of very few images, make the listener felt involved on the lessions. As a student, if I have to choose one of these three videos, in order to understand better the poem, I would choose this one, even by the fact that seems a documentary based on Keat’s work.
    But the third one is the most engaging one of the three videos, because is the only one, in which there is a sort of comunication between the man who explains the ode and the public. This is also favored by the use of questions during the analysis and the resulting moment of personal reflection about what he affirmed. It is the kind of analysis that creates a link between the audience and the work itself, because we feel part of the narration, as if we were one of the protagonists. Moreover I prefer most this last video, because the language he used during the riview is easy to understand and even by the way he is teaching us: it seems not a professor, but a common student, who wants to help us.
    For these reasons I prefer the third video, even if the second one clearify excellently the “Ode on a Grecian Urn”.

  87. Valerio Zaina scrive:

    The lectures I liked the most were the second and the third. I liked the second one because the way the speaker was talking was very catching: his tone of voice, the way he moved the hands. Especially I liked the last part of it when he talks about the last verse of the poem “beauty is truth, truth is beauty” because in my opinion he gave a very clever interpretation: he states that who says those words is the vase, because just for it the two things (beauty and truth) can be the same. For human beings beauty and truth are not the same because beauty is always changing and the only truth for us is dying. The urn is meant to contain ashes of dead people, so it contains the only truth, but then on it we can find even the beauty that will never fade: in this way beauty and truth become the same thing. Another aspect that I liked of the second lecture was the projection of the images of the poem that was very useful because it highlighted the key words that helped you to understand better the poem.
    In the third lecture I liked the way the professor addressed to his student, how he explained the meaning of the poem as if he was talking about the simplest thing on the world, as if he was talking to some friends of him, even if he didn’t managed to explain everything.
    Generally speaking I can say that as a person that really wants to learn something from Keats I would find the second lecture very useful; but as a student I have to say that I found the third one more appealing, as I said before, because of the way the man was communicating with the audience: as a teacher you have to understand that most of the time more than a half of the people that are watching you (students) do not really care about what you’re talking about, so you have to work out a method in order to make the lesson as ‘easy’ as possible. In this case the teacher tried to use a sort of ‘negative capability’: I. e. he tried to ‘negate’ himself as a teacher and become a student, speak as a student. At least this was my impression. In the first two video the two men didn’t need to do it.

  88. Arianna Fabbro scrive:

    The “lesson” I liked the most was the second one because I found it the more complete and the more clear out of the three. I think the video was also structured very well because of the images of the ode that appears while he reads the poem, since I found that this helped me following what he was saying. I didn’t find the first video really helpfull because more than a lesson I would describe it as a lecture that can be fine for those who don’t want to analyze the poem deeply but they just want to know what the poem is dealing with. Regarding the last video, I liked the way the teacher tries to involve his students making references with Hercules or their experiences but I found his lesson a little bit superficial and incomplete; in fact he doesn’t analyze the entire ode but just few parts of it.

  89. Valentina Paronuzzi scrive:

    The video I liked the most is the second because the lecture explains very clearly and he is easy to understand.
    In my opinion he points out the steps that are necessary to understand the ode.
    For example he explains that what we are and what the urn is, are two completely different things; the urn can have at the same time beauty and truth but cannot have life, because it is frozen in time, on the contrary we are in life and so we cannot understand the truth and the beauty as one unit.
    I also like the first lecture but I think he presents the Ode’s theme in a too fast and essential way, that cannot enable a person who has never read the poem to completely understand it.
    Sincerely I do not like the third teacher because of his attitude, though, between the three, is the one that has discussed in more detail the Ode.

    • Michele scrive:

      Personally speaking, the second lecture was the best. It was very easy to follow his explanation, even for someone who didn’t read the poem. He described perfectly the urn as if it were right in front of him. He also tried to interpret Keats’s intent to “freeze” the moment when the two lovers are about to kiss. He says many times that imagination and senses are very important in this poem, since the action is still. We should use our imagination to guess how the people represented in the urnwill move. I must say I was very involved in this lesson, contrary to the other two. The first was too short and lacking of details. It could’ve been useful just for a review, but not for a full explanation. In the third, instead, I didn’t find a contact with the speaker. I guess it was a registered school lesson, where the teacher explained the poem to his students. To me, it was meant just for students who had the book under their eyes, because he made several references to it.

  90. Giada scrive:

    I like the second video because the professor speaks properly and clearly. He is very directly like a journalist.
    The other professors are dispersive, their language is not difficult but they pay attention to superficial things that are not necessary to understand the poem. The first one does not make the analysis of the poem, he only talks about the story and the last one talks about museums and the poet’s feelings linked to the Urn.
    The second professor refers to the stanzas and to the most important passages, and it is very important to us to focus on the themes and the purpose of the poem. He starts the analysis and gives to “students” a sort of guidelines.

  91. silvia piol scrive:

    I must cofess that I didn’t really like any of the three speakers. However out of the three speakers that one that I liked the most is the second one. I really appreciated the fact that he looked directly into the camera while he was speaking. That made the speech more involving. Then I liked the fact that he supported his speech with slides showing us paintings and imageslinked to the subject he was dealing with. Thirdly I quite liked his voice. It was clear and very easy to understand. Finally the speech was well organised.

  92. Valentina Porro scrive:

    The teacher that I like the most was the one of the second video because I like the way he structured the video. I find very useful the fact that in the video he decided to put a slide with the text of the poem because in this way it was easier to understand which lines he was referring to. Moreover I would like to choose the second teacher because he highlights the themes and the meaning of the poem while he was explaining it, whereas the teacher of the last video is too focused on analyzing each line that he does not explain properly the themes of the poem. However I appreciate the way the teacher of the third video tries to explain the deep meaning of the expressions used by Keats, by referring to situation of common life. Moreover I found very involving the second teacher due to his tone of voice, the fact that he was always watching directly in the camera and the way he speaks: not too fast and with simple phrases. Finally I want to add that I would never choose the teacher of the first video because it seems to me that he does not explain many basic things like if the interlocutor has to know already a few features of that poem. Moreover I do not like the fact that he did not put a slide with the text of the poem in his video and by this very reason it was difficult to understand which part of the poem he was explaining. Furthermore I do not like that while he was explaining the poem he did not look the interlocutor instead he look some texts that he had got.

  93. Sara Nicastro scrive:

    After having read the poem, I prefer the teacher of the first video because it is useful to refresh my memory about the ode in a little time. But, if I hadn’t read the poem, it would have been useless since he doesn’t focus on the lines, he does few links with them. The first teacher does a summary, and to understand him you need to know the poem by yourself. If I had to study the poem and understand it on my own, then I would see the second video. the first reason of this choice is the whole video, which is not home made but presents an useful visual analysis and a man who is not gorgeous but at least knows how to speak to public (he speaks slowly and doesn’t give anything for sure, he explains all). The teacher of the third video focuses a lot on the habit which gave life to the poem (Keats went to a museum and saw a plenty of urns and so on), but he’s not so convincing as the second one.

  94. Serena Riservato scrive:

    The teacher that I like the most was the one of the second video because I like the way the video is structured. It is supported by the text and images that illustrate better the concepts.
    The teacher use a simple language and he focus the attention on the concept of Keats’ irony. He explains the different view of an artwork, in particular those of Keats and Shakespeare: for Keats art is dead, stagnant, you can’t have ecstasy, beauty and life at the same time, instead for Shakespeare it is immortal as long as people have ears to hear and eyes to see.
    I really like the body language of the man and his way of speaking through different emphases of the most important things.
    On the contrary the professor of the third video spoke more but he focus the attention only on images.
    In this video the teacher explains the topic in a very simple way and he use a lot of examples to compare the described situation with the reality.
    In the first video is emphasized the immortality of the urn and the concept of beauty and truth but in this lection the man doesn’t involve the spectator.

  95. Virginia Nichilo scrive:

    Out of the three lectures on “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, I preferred the second one, as I found it to be well structured and easy to follow due to the quality of the filming in itself. I also found it very helpful to see the section of the poem the lecturer was explaining, whereas the other two lectures simply paraphrased, or read the poem and then explained it, making it difficult to follow.
    I appreciated the third lecturer for his approachability and his “carefree” way of explaining, which is quite refreshing, as sometimes lecturers use a very “pompous” language, making it hard for students to follow. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the poor quality of the filming heavily impacted the overall quality of the lecture.
    The first video, is the one I consider to be the less effective and understandable; the lecturer is very lineal in his explanation of the poem, although I find him to be very detached and unapproachable and I think it is important for students to feel like they can relate to the lecturer, as it makes it more enjoyable to follow the explanation.

  96. Iryna scrive:


    After seeing three different presentations of the poem by John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, I can say that none of the three professors explained well enough the work proposed. All three teachers were not clear and did not explain the rhetorical figures good enough. The first lesson is very short and unclear, are totally absent explanations of the verses and the language is not easy at all. The logical thread of the speech is difficult and can not be attended by a student who for the first time deal with the text of Keats. In the third video the teacher talk about the things that have little to do with the poem in question. He makes many references to different aspects and also tries to interact with the audience. Which is obviously important to keep the situation under control and keep the students focused on the topic of the lesson. But unfortunately few aspects have been explained and this does not allow me understand the poem.
    If I had to choose just one of three classes offered, I think I would choose the second video. I liked this professor’s voice and gestures that I think are important. He makes important emphases, what make not his monologue too monotonous. Also are important the images that he projects, that can help us understand the poem. There is the text of the poem where the main steps are highlighted, unfortunately not all steps are described. The language he uses is quite clear and can be followed by paying attention.

    Semenyuk Iryna 5F

  97. Yana Guerra scrive:

    In my opinion the teacher who explaines better the poem is the second one, because he decided to put into his explanation the slides with the text of the poem, so in this way I did not have use the book. Moreover his explanation is useful to understand better the themes of the poem and his meaning. The first one is focused on analyizing the lines of the poem, but he did not explain the meaning of the poem. The third one talked about the poem in a way that is not understandable by a person who does not know the analysis of the poem.

  98. Yana Guerra scrive:

    The painting I prefer is the first one by John William Waterhouse. In this picture we can see a knight and a beautiful lady, they are in love in fact we can see it in their eyes. The knight is blocked by the lady with her long hair. It seems autumn, in fact the colours are dark, that symbolize the end of the life. The woman is beautiful, she has long brown hair and she wears a red dress. Her eyes are not full of passion, maybe she is thinking about something else. They want to kiss but something fright them or maybe is the choice of the painter to represent the scene before the action. Also the other artists love to represent their masterpieces before or after the action. For example Canova represented his sculptures after the actions, like “Teseo sul Minotauro”. Maybe the knight will fall and die in pain. We cannot understand the real continuarion of the story in the painting. Like Keats, also Waterhouse creates an imaginary world that seems so real to someone in love.

  99. Iryna scrive:

    “La Belle Dame sans Merci”

    Proposed four paintings I prefer the one by John William Waterhouse. In my opinion it is the most suitable for the ballad of John Keats “La belle dame sans merci.” The picture represent the meeting of the beautiful young girl with a knight. The painter decides to represent the moment when the girl, with her crazy eyes, looking straight into the eyes of the knight is enchanting him. She does him fall in love with her, to have power over him. The girl is kneeling on the grass between the trees and is attracting the guy with the long hair. It almost seems that he is hypnotized. The colors of the painting are soft and warm with a few light spots. On the second floor we see the nature that seems to be involved in the particularly report between young people, it makes no contrast. This picture definitely better corresponds the story told by Keats.

    Semenyuk Iryna 5F

  100. Pitton Elisa scrive:

    Among these three videos, the one I prefer is the second one. The first one is good if you have to do a quick revision of the poem and you want to listen to the main points. Of the third one I like the way the teacher explains how you should approach to the Keats’s work, providing concrete examples, and I think it’s quite evident that he’s talking to high-school students who have never read the ode before. So the reason why I chose the second video is because the speaker adds something else, beyond the, so to say, “scholastic” analysis. For example when he illustrates the meaning of the penultimate line “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”. He says that Beauty and Truth are the same thing for the urn, but not for common people; for human beings time flows away, the beauty changes with it and sooner or later everybody is bound to face his own death. Moreover through art Beauty is enhanced and frozen in that moment, it’s not living. On the contrary humans have to go through pain, love, sufferance, astonishment, in one word LIFE in order to know what really Beauty and love is.

  101. Rossana Solari 5^H scrive:

    Personally, having viewed the videos, I find that the second one gives the deepest analysis of Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn”.
    The first speaker summarizes the poem without giving an interpretation, which is indispensable in my opinion. The third presenter provides examples to simplify the overall comprehension of the poem and also explains the irony that is hidden by Keats’s amusing descriptions.
    I firmly believe that the second video clip goes truly through the analysis of the poem and the commentator takes some time to think upon the line “Beauty is Truth, and Truth is Beauty”. For the urn, time is frozen, it is immortal so beauty and truth lie on the same level: they are bound by the same meaning.
    To mortals beauty and truth are interchangeble, They are dynamic over time. Keats remarks this state of imperfection of man with irony.
    What the third speaker states that the other two don’t, is the antithesis between love (an expression of life) and death (represented by the urn).

  102. Alessia B. 5^H scrive:

    I liked both the second and third lecture, because they are much more detailed than the first one and they both try to explain it in the simplest and clearest way, providing us with useful examples and trying to draw a parallel between what Keats said and what we can experience in our everyday life. But, if asked to choose between the two of them, I would probably opt for the second one, since he looked more confident and had a precise idea of what he wanted to say and he went on talking without losing the thread of what he was saying. I think this is fundamental for a teacher, who has to look confident in order to give something to his students and bequeath them his knowledge in an effective way.

  103. Xheni Mullahi 5^H scrive:

    The video I like the best is the second, because it is a complete resume and at the same time a detailed explanation of the poem. There are images of urns, some verses of the Ode where are highlightened the important words and last but not least the way this teacher explanes and interpret the masterpiece of Keats is very envolving and above of all clear!
    He made me clear the symbol of the urn. It is a beautiful creation of human being and symbolize our death, our end but somehow it makes us eternal by perserving us in time and
    conserving our identity for ever!

  104. Lara De Piero scrive:

    Out of the three lectures of “Ode on a Grecian Urn” the one I prefer the most is the second one because the lecturer explains the poem in a simple way and with a clear language. I really like the passage in which he talks about one of the most cryptic verse of the poem: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty” wrote Keats and the man in the video clarifies that for the urn beauty and truth are the same thing, while for a living person they are not the same because beauty changes by the time, it is not immortal as art is and the truth is that we have all to move towards death. So, as human beings, we have to deal with sorrow, loss, pain and with suffering in general in order to comprehend what real beauty is. Moreover I appreciate this lecturer because he is the only one who goes beyond the shallow interpretations of the poem, trying to understand and explain the deep meaning of Keats’ words; furthermore I like the fact that he makes links with other poems because it helps to comprehend some aspects of the poem. Finally, I have to say that I like even the third lecturer for some reasons: one of these is that he makes concrete examples to his students in order to make them get the picture and then because he does it by comparing what Keats described to everyday situation, with the result of an immediate understanding of the poem.

  105. Sara Pavan scrive:


    The video that I liked the most was the second one, (Romantic poetry #28 Ode on a Grecian Urn). Right from the start the lecturer emphasizes the origin of the Ode, projecting the ideal reader (or listener, in this case) back at the Grecian age, giving us the idea of feeling the same emotions that invaded Keats at the sight of the urn in the museum. As a matter of fact, reading the first stanza of the ode, give us the idea of something antique, fragile and mysterious.
    The lecturer, then, proceeds describing the imagines painted on the urn: there is people dancing, having fun, laughing. There is music and wild ecstasy. They are all persuaded by a sense of bliss. I really appreciated the enthusiasm of the speaker while explaining the Ode, because it is evident that he deeply enjoyed the lyric and he deeply understood it, therefore he wants to spread his knowledge in order to make people see what he sees in this Ode.
    I do prefer, though, the first video (Ode on a Grecian Ode short lecture) for what concern the scene of the kiss between the two lovers. I found the description of the scene profound, almost sacred and passionate. The lecturer explained well the juxtaposition between beauty and truth linked with the immortality of the two lovers’ love thank to the urn.
    Anyway, if I were asked to tell which lecturer would appeal to me the most, I would choose the second one because of his way of explaining difficult concept in an easy manner.

    Sara Pavan

  106. Sara Marini scrive:

    I think that the second video is the one that can describe better the entire poem.
    The first one is not complete, i think that it is just to understand the superficial part of the work, but to understand it deeply and completely, I prefer the second one.
    The speaker seem very professional, in the sense that it is clear that he knows what he is talking about, that he made a fond study on it and most of all that he is really persuaded (and persuading) by the words of the poem. The man is very passionate in his speech, and I think that he really understand what the poet wanted to share with his Ode.
    For this reason, I think that in the third video the teacher is not enough passionate (and he did not describe the whole poem) as the man in the second one, and this is why I did not really like it. Finally I like the second video because it was very easy to follow the explanation, since there are both images and text of the ode in it.
    I guess, if every teacher proves to love the subject and the lecture that he teaches (like the man in the second video), all students would learn more and more easily.

  107. Sara Grande 5H scrive:

    Among the three explaination I preferred the second one, because for me it is more sutisfying for students like us that need to go beyond the just “scholastic” analysis (like Elisa said). Then I like the fact that he expresses the gratness of Keats through his own words, trying to involve those who are listening to him. I think that engage students is the most difficult thing, because you have to understand what is the way you have to walk to reach their heart by analysing something bigger than you. So I like this “teacher” because he knows how to do it. Then I like how he describes the urn, saying that over it there are all great images. I think he can transmit the love he feels for literature in general. I don’t like the first one because I think is a little bit “confusing” and the third one because is (the right word is) “scholastic”, when we need to go beyond.

  108. Corsunov scrive:

    For Keats negative capability is the ability of a person to to understand the feelings and the thoughts of an other person. You have to erase your own feelings and opinions from your head and listen and trying to understand your interlocutor. It is important not just in litterature but even in real life as the man in the video explained.

  109. Mattias Gerometta scrive:

    No doubts: I prefer the second lesson. The first one does not involve enough and does not give you a complete explanation of the poem:the teacher concentrates too much on the review of the poem and does not clarify the meaning of it. I found the third one too much scholastic: it’s ok if you are talking to a class, but does not add nothing personal or interesting. Moreover, the teacher focuses his attention on Keats’ life.
    The second one is the more complete and well structured: the teacher uses the right speaking level and gives you examples from the text, adding something more than the explanation of the third lesson. I really appreciated that he shows you the stanza where the example is taken from while he is explaining, because is really useful and helps you to imagine the scene.
    Finally I decided for it because is the only one which puts attention on the two key-passages of the lyric: the irony of love, that is represented just in one moment, but it is something that lasts for a long time and causes you sufferance; and the concept of beauty: for the urn beauty lasts, but for humans the time flows away and the beauty fades with it.

  110. Annagiulia Nadin scrive:

    For me it is very difficult to choose just one of the three lectures, in particular because all the speakers are really experienced, competent and can express the same big passion and enthusiasm for Keats and his work. This author represents their world, their life and they want to share with everybody what they discovered and know about the secrets that “Ode on a Grecian Urn” hides.
    Well – if I must be sincere- I find the first explanation too traditional and without any type of “addition” to the classic, bare, “perfect analysis” that we read in literature books. So the lecturer doesn’t say nothing more than what I can grasp from reading the poem by myself. Neither his expressive ways nor what he says can involve me. The Ode remains something stranger and foreign; I read and understand but I do not perceive as mine what is written.
    The other two lectures are for many reasons “at the same level” of originality and personality. The second one introduces the element of irony in the ode, an aspect not always immediate to catch, which shows the intensity used by the speaker who tries to entry into the spirit, the soul of this work and tries to reveal Keats’ real figure just like a detective does with his suspected. Unfortunately he makes this “trip” through the Ode alone and the audience is not allowed to follow him: the lecturer has the role of messenger, he is the link between Keats’ verses and the readers. He has the capability to go beyond the direct, literal meaning in the lines and then to communicate what he finds; readers could not be able to do the same. They can just wait his “translation”, but they understand that this lack will always make them inferior to him. He represents the acculturated intellectual who is too far from common people and this aspect can be perceived also in his language, body language and obviously looking at his attire. This is why, even if I admire the second speaker for his great knowledge and charm and I think his lecture could be considered a model lesson to explain Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (for example at university), I must admit I prefer the last speech.
    Firstly I have been dazzled by the simple, colloquial and welcoming approach that the third speaker has. Secondly it is absolutely brilliant the way in which he tries to transfer the work in our reality and, at the same time, to transfer us into the work through the contextualization of what stands in the lines. From the beginning he creates the right atmosphere where our imagination can burst out and be free, but simultaneously it can be guided by his help (of the lecturer). So I am no longer a simple reader, always separated by an obstacle/wall from the world beneath the words. I become a traveler, that traveler who visits the museum where the urn is located and sees it, who can give testimony of what he sees. I am not a spectator: I see, feel, hear…and live what is illustrated in the urn. I become a character painted in the urn, just like the lovers, the trees, the crowd,…And for a moment the time stops and I am immortal too; the speaker does not exist anymore and I can go on alone. For the first time the audience does not meet a perfect text analyzer or an acculturated intellectual, it meets a common man between men, endowed with a great power of relationship with his students and people in general. Thanks to him and his lecture “Ode on a Grecian Urn” becomes more than a simple work, it becomes a travel in our heart and mind, a travel that will survive for ever.

  111. Corsunov scrive:

    The quard that I liked the most is the third one. It is very reppresentative of the poem by Keats. The woman seems to be passive and indifferent towards the feelings of the knight. It seems that she uses him for her own interests and pleasure but never thinks about his heart. She is cruel. And the knight sems to be killed by her indifference and by his love that is not reciprocated, so he suffers till death.

  112. Corsunov scrive:

    I found the first video of “the ode on a grecian urn” very clear in explaining. The man explains in details the structure and the meaning of this poem but I think that he is very detached it seems that he is not emotionally envolved in this poem but just wants to teach to the listener how to make an analysis of this poem. The second video is more envolving due to the slides and images that make you listen the lesson with more attention, the explanation is very clear and detailed. The third video is the one I liked the most there is some kind of comprehension between the listener and the “teacher”, he is very clear and simple in explanation, which is not formal. It seems even that he is envolved in this poem like he is really interested in teaching us something new about it that we do not know by ourselves.

  113. Lisa scrive:

    I think that the first one is the best, even if it has some cons. For me the poem’s analysis made through lecture results interesting, for the content, but a little bit heavy for the way it is presented. I love the lecturer too; I really appreciate his tone of voice, which inspires tranquillity, and how he can involve who is listening.
    The second video uses the “classic” way to present a theme, so for me it is quite trite. I do not even like the speaker, for example I find him slow in saying things. In conclusion, it is well made, but I cannot find something special.
    No doubt, the third video, is the one I appreciate less; in my opinion the teacher is, in some circumstances quite distracting and a little bit repetitive.
    Anyway, I must admite that his way of illustrating the urn’s pictures strikes me. Lisa C.

  114. Michele scrive:

    Personally speaking, the second lecture was the best. It was very easy to follow his explanation, even for someone who didn’t read the poem. He described perfectly the urn as if it were right in front of him. He also tried to interpret Keats’s intent to “freeze” the moment when the two lovers are about to kiss. He says many times that imagination and senses are very important in this poem, since the action is still. We should use our imagination to guess how the people represented in the urnwill move. I must say I was very involved in this lesson, contrary to the other two. The first was too short and lacking of details. It could’ve been useful just for a review, but not for a full explanation. In the third, instead, I didn’t find a contact with the speaker. I guess it was a registered school lesson, where the teacher explained the poem to his students. To me, it was meant just for students who had the book under their eyes, because he made several references to it.

  115. Lisa scrive:

    The four representation of the “Le Belle Dame sans merci” by John Keats are all interesting and particular, but, for me, the first one is the best. I note the protagonist’s raffiguration, which is impressive, but what really strikes me is the particular intensity of their glance. In fact, if you pay attention, it is immediately evident that the jung man is completely controlled by the girl and cannot look away from she. Her face remind the conception of the angel- woman caracteristic of the medieval period; so she really seems to be an innocent and sweet lover.
    The second one is perfect to immortalize the very moment when the warrior is subjugate to the will of she. I find the collocation of the two really perfect to idealize the superiorityof the woman and the inferiority of the man. He is defenceless and cannot rebel anymore. than the lanscape is so beautiful that seems to be real.
    I do not like the third picture, because it represents a “passive moment”; the man is not conscious and the attention is centred on the cruel lady.
    the final one is beautiful, but it looks imaginative. I think this image makes a mixture of fantastic and real elements. I really love the interest of the detail; for example the variety of th flowers painted. Lisa C.

  116. Elisa Del Pup scrive:

    Through the videos posted on the blog, the lectures I like the most are the second and the third ones.
    The man, explaining the Ode in the second video, has a calm and peaceful tone of voice, and gave simple and clear explanation. “Keats, standing there, can hear the music across the centuries” in my opinion is a very powerful sentence because it conveys the idea of the passing of time, the importance of the works of art, which frozen a moment of common people forever: the urn will remain when we ourselves are gone. I really appreciated his way of explaining the Ode, and I think it would be very useful for a student to watch this video, as it was for me.
    I even liked the way the third video was composed, because while the man was talking, images and verses of the poem were sliding one after the other making the viewer better understand what the man was talking about, avoiding to lose the thread.

  117. Noemi scrive:

    The video I preferred was the second one, because the speaker was very clear and he analyzed very well the poem. He made me understand very well the irony hided behind the words and made me think about the themes that the poet rises. I have found the parts with the text of the ode useful, because it helps you to concentrate and understand what he means. Even the images were interesting since he made me think about what had probably thought Keats when he decided to write the ode to the urn.
    The first video is too short and difficult to follow, because he refers to some parts of the poem that he learned by heart.
    The third one is interesting because it is a real lesson so the teacher tries to involve his students but it was a little bit boring to me since I have studied it before. He analyses everything trying to make his students understand the poem and to remember it and I think it could be useful if I have not heard of it before, especially for the introduction.