Today we’re going to meet another great writer belonging to the second generation of Romantic poets (he died at 26). When he was young he wanted to become a doctor but at 21 he abandoned medicine for poetry; thanks to that choice we can now enjoy his fantastic poems. All his life was characterized by his enduring and reciprocated love for Fanny Brawne. 

Here’s the beautiful love poem BRIGHT STAR you can also read in your textbookThe first video is the last scene of the movie when Fanny Browne recites the poem Keats had written for her. She had just been given the news of his death in Rome.

Let’s  watch the trailer of the movie about Keats and Fanny Brawne’s romance: Bright Star (2009) Director: Jane Campion Cast: Ben Whishaw (Keats), Abbie Cornish (Fanny Brawne), Kerry Fox (Mrs Brawne), Paul Schneider (Charles Armitage Brown).

AT HOME: Task 1Read A SHORT ACCOUNT of their thwarted love story.

As you know Keats moved to Rome hoping that the warmer climate would be beneficial to his illness, tuberculosis. The Keats-Shelley House  curator takes a walk through some of the rooms of the museum and explains why this place is so important. I went to visit it last February. One day, when in Rome you might decide to go there and visit it 🙂 

Another poem worth reading is the Ode to a Nightingale read by the actor of the movie Ben Whishaw. Here’s the poem in English & Italian

I cannot help adding the reading by the actor Benedict Cumberbatch, whose voice is just stunning!

As you can read in your textbook Keats believed in Beauty & the immortality of Art. His poetry claimed no moral or political purpose, thus anticipating the 19th century trend of ART FOR ART’S SAKE you have found in D’Annunzio & we’ll find in Oscar Wilde.

I end this post quoting the poet whose book of poems was found in Shelley’s pocket when he shipwrecked & died in the Gulf of Lerici.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty’, – that is all

We know on earth , and all we need to know.”

To clarify what we said in class here’s a good explanation of NEGATIVE CAPABILITY. As Keats himself stated “Several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously — I mean Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason

ASSIGNMENT: either as a comment in Blog or oral in class: CHOOSE one

a) How much importance do people attach to beauty nowadays? What role does art play in your life?

b) How do you relate to the concept of Negative Capability, this idea of being RECEPTIVE, not seeking absolute knowledge, a kind of flexibility and openness to the world also regarded as a rejection of the tendency to rationalise? 


On October 1st 2017, a new shooting took place in Las Vegas:  A gunman Stephen Paddock killed more than 50 people and wounded at least 500 others. Here’s the Cnn report. That shooting is only the last of a long series of massacres.  See  Voices of America’s report.

“An average of one mass shooting happened every day in the U.S. in 2015”, the New York Times reported. Here you can see the timeline  history of mass shooting. I feel horrified at such long history of violence. It’s about time they took some measures!

Gun Debate After several mass shootings in the United States, President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats again renewed calls for stricter gun control measures.

They called for changes to current laws that permit people to purchase guns without a background check. They also want to bar (preclude, prohibit) people on the U.S. government’s No Fly List” from buying guns. The list contains names of people suspected of having connections to terrorist groups.“If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. ”

Obama pledged for new gun rules and the article in the New York Times Guns Are Our Shared Responsibility was written by him. Let’s read & listen to the article from VOA and watch the video of an emotional Obama. 
This contemporary issue is related  to the movie Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore we’re going to watch together in class.


  • How does this ad make you feel? Do you think certain commercials could contribute to change people’s attitude towards the possession of guns?

Here you can find some DATA regarding gun violence in the USA: Gun Violence Archive so that you can compare it to the rest of the world in a visual way. Mass shooting visual guide by CNNIsn’t it appalling? Did you expect it to be so bad?

Some people even believe that teachers should come to school armed in order to protect their pupils.

How would that “me” make you feel? 


I took the next photo in July 2014 in Boston at the  “finish line” of the marathon in Boylston Street and it’s the site where During the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, two pressure cooker bombs exploded at 2:49 pm, killing 3 people and injuring an estimated 264 others.The bombs exploded about 13 seconds and 210 yards (190 m) apart. This is what you see now, all those colored fabrics to  commemorate that tragedy … it’s really touching.


I’m also adding a photo I took in Charlotte inside the elevator of our hotel, right downtown in the very center of the city. It made me feel really uncomfortable and for the first time I actually “felt” how totally different our gun culture is from the America one.


Before devoting our next session to the movie and the discussion I’d like you to read a CNNiReport I wrote two years ago, following a shooting at Costal Carolina UniversityI went to visit that University and it’s pretty close to where my son was studying so I couldn’t help feeling emotionally involved.


gunsstatesI want to add two interesting TedTalks. In the first Sue Klebold  the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters who committed the Columbine High School massacre, murdering 12 students and a teacher, explores the intersection between mental health and violence, advocating for parents and professionals to continue to examine the link between suicidal and homicidal thinking.




The next is the Talk by Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who makes a passionate, personal appeal for something that more than 90 percent of Americans want: background checks for all gun sales.




During our next lesson be ready to share your impressions and ideas with the rest of the class using your written notes.