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German student needs help, please!

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:35 pm
by Good Student

Hey U! :D

I was writing an analysation about "Ode to a grecian urn" and now my teacher wants me to write more about the historical background of the grecian urn and it's hard to find some information... Could anybody help me?!

Thanx a lot!


PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2005 10:26 pm
by Fred
When I did Grecian Urn I did somebackgroung work on it because I like to have a full picture of what Im reading.

Anyway What I can rememeber this late on a friday night in ahurry is that the actual urn is not known to exsist but is a combination of differant urns. However the sacrifice sceneYou know the one with the people eeding the cow? just before the stanza about the deserted village? well that urn apparntly did really exsist in hamsted house and is on exbition there now.

Is this the kind of thing you want?? If you give me some feed back ill go through my notes tomorrow and see if I can find anything for you.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 4:06 pm
by witch6
Correct, the actual urn does not exist.

What most scholars have come to conclude is that Keats was drawing on different sources while writing the Ode. Remember that he went to see the Elgin Marbles for the first time in 1817, and those works of art really struck him. He wrote a sonnet about his visit to 'the marbles' straight afterwards ('On seeing the Elgin Marbles'), but it's possible that some of the scenes represented stayed with him for longer. Remember also that he was a great lover of mythology and the classical world, representation of ancient society and custom comes back often in his works.

So, basically, the Ode is partly a visualization of images that were in his head, partly inspired by Grecian art which he'd had the privilege and pleasure to see, but most of all, the ode is a great work of his creative imagination, and as such, it has no real link to any physical object.

I hope that helped.

PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:36 pm
by Good Student
Thanx for your replies!

I was looking for some information in general about the meaning of an urn in a poem... I'm not the best in history of literatur....

Thanx again!

Dennis! :D

PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:56 am
by witch6
I am not too sure what you mean by that. :?

Do you want to know why Keats chose an urn as the subject of the ode? Is that it? :?:

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:22 am
by Fred
Or do you mean what is the significant symbolisim of an urn.
like for example (I know that is redunant but still anyway):
You put dead peoples ashes in Urns (ancient romans or greeks or both did too) so it is again symbolising death??

And maybe the juctopositioning (Im learning to use "literary vocabulary " for my exams) of the idea of death and immortality represented in the pictures is what the pem is really about.

Then again I suggested somthing slightly similar in class and just sort of got blank stares and "Oh god shes taken us off on a tangent again" looks so it mightt be a totally of the wall rather random idea

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 11:18 am
by witch6
the idea of death and immortality represented in the pictures is what the poem is really about.

Wow, that's exactly the way I feel about it, so, forget the blank stares you got in class. I think you're right.

I mean, most people keep interpreting the Ode as the celebration of immortality through art, which is accurate in part, but how can you miss all the hints about stillness, about silence, about death really? I believe that Keats wanted to celebrate art, on the one hand, and its ability to defeat death, but at the same time he was saying that this particular form of art implies some sort of mortality, too.

Just think about it, the lovers will never kiss, so their love will never wither, but it will never be consummated either. The city will forever be empty, no more life in it. Nobody left in it to answer questions. There is so much sadness about these images, yes they're immortal, but they feel very much like promises that'll never be fulfilled.

Do you think I am nuts?

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:22 pm
by Fred
no that was exactly my point it was just Soooooooo sad as if immortalty was bad because "to progress is human" that sounds like a victorian quote but could be wrong. But anyway back to the point what wa the point? Oh yes... You are not nuts unless I am but then again I do live in Cloud cuckoo land so yeah...
It may be a celebration of death.. have a look at the help with interpritation string in homework that has a keatsean poem called i think

on death

which seems to celebrate it too.
:D :wink: