Poetry and Immortality: John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale' – Professor Belinda Jack

25 thoughts on “Poetry and Immortality: John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale' – Professor Belinda Jack

  1. Negative Capability is a destructive, antichristian teaching/philosophy. No wonder God punished Keats for his heresies with consumption.

  2. I sort half agree with the interpretation of the nightingale's immortality as opposed to the human species. As already mentioned the bird is immortal for not being aware of death and the knowledge of the brain and therefore another nightingale will continue the singing after the previous one is dead. The species is connected beyond intellect. As to the poet, his half knowledge doesn't allow such privilege and the individuality of humans is one cause of our mortality. However, through poetry one can achieve this communion and never die. I am not sure it's got anything to do with the evolutionary aspect of the nightingale's song but rather its unawareness of death.

  3. There's a trend currently of people when asked a question to begin their reply with "So . . ."
    I wish they wouldn't. Or in order that they get the message, "So I wish they wouldn't".

    To those who would term me pedantic, I offer this; the speaker is an expert in the English language, she should bleeding well know better.

  4. A wonderful and insightful lecture! She helped me understand the depths of this poem and has given me a new appreciation of it.

  5. Prof Belinda's Commentary is laudable for more than one reason. She speaks to the sophomore in the audience as well as the blasé geriatric in the last row who is steeped in the quasi-decadent romanticism of the short-lived epigones who pined for the 'desire of the moth for the star'.

    Belinda seamlessly foregrounds the graphic imagery of the ode against vignettes from Keats' life and the analects from his letters which define the lightness of his poetic vision so vascular you could incise it with the petal of a rose. A bouquet for Prof Belinda please !

  6. This is why many academics make for poor teachers. She lacks the passion and the ability to make connections between the poem and concepts to which today's students can relate. She is clearly knowledgeable, but this type of presentation is not going to turn someone on to Keats or to poetry in general.

  7. why does she keep looking at her notes. I would have thought that she would know all there is to know. I can understand her using her notes as leaders but not every word. I

  8. Hang on. I have a spotty education and often listen to academic talks on poetry. This one has wonderful insights about Keats and Negative Capability and uncertainty. Thank you Dr. Belinda Jack for sharing your knowledge and exquisite sensitivity,

    I have done a little research on nightingales, and so I have to question the assertion that you would hear what Keats heard. I am going to loosely quote from a PBS program on bird songs. The nightingale has 300 different love songs. So while the repertoire might be the same or highly similar, your chances just went down of hearing the same song. The program was Life of Birds/Songs.

    An aside: Perhaps of interest, I read about Woolf hearing the nightingale sing in Greek, not literally, of course, but it was disturbing to her when she was in a troubled state of mind.

    There is a website that will change a phrase you type in into "nightingale" song.

  9. after all his wonderful and enlightening instruction and suggestion on how one should create poetry, I came to find keats a bit more stiff, a tad less fluid(lubricated)than others I've read: Tennyson; Whitman. great lecture!!!!

  10. Timeless prophet! And thanks also for the insightful interpretation from both Belinda and Gresham College (Wow, since 1597?). Now internet magnifies your efforts in raising human consciousness exponentially, boundlessly! Thanks for such beautiful works.

  11. Could someone help me out at minutes 44.20 what is she exactly saying? I cannot understand the word she uses.
    After starting to list the features that make the poem so very effective she mentions the alliterations of P, D and Ms, which evoke ………….? I can't understand the word she uses!

  12. Fantastic – in a dreamy half-light the song gently brushed against my very soul and transformed it into beautiful melodious air. Thank you.

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