Who was Keats best friend?

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Who was Keats best friend?

Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 31, 2004 11:28 am

In the aftermath of Keats death and even before many of his claims fought over who was his best friend.

Was it Severn who was with him and nursed him at the very end?

Was it Brown, who lived with him and wrote with him?

Was it Hunt, who in the Examiner gave him his deepest held political and literary beliefs?

Was it even Haydon who inspired him by bringing him to see the Elgin Marbles?

Others?

Who's friendship had the greatest impact on Keats life and work?


Any thoughts, Keatsians out there?
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Postby Matt » Tue Aug 31, 2004 5:33 pm

Here are my first impressions of what Keats' friends were to him and to be honest Stephen, I'm probably merely echoing the views implied by Andrew Motion in his biography. Anyways! Here's what comes to mind when I think of these men:

SEVERN- A close friend of Keats but their relationship was different to that of Keats and Brown. Severn almost idolised Keats, I feel, and Keats looked upon Severn as he did his younger brothers but with less love! He felt a sort of protective figure to Severn, even though it was Severn who was supposed to be looking after Keats. Keats loved him as a friend sure, but perhaps got irritated by his almost cartoon like behaviour-clumsy and exaggerated.

BROWN- Keats' best friend. Simple as that. Two men who were on the same intellectual wavelength BUT also on the same wavelength in terms of what male friends are more often than not about: Good times and good women. Like best friends nowadays all except different in that one of them was an artisitic genius (that'd be Keats by the way) and the other strived to be. Brown's realisation that he would never be as poetic as Keats did not result in resentment though. Quite the opposite. Instead he was a guide to Keats, a rock. If there was any resentment it was from Keats. Keats secretly and sometimes perhaps, overtly chided Brown for his flirting (and shagging) of anything that had a vagina (isnt vagina such a crude word. I can find no word for the female gentitalia that quite does it justice) But resentment between two male friends is often found even now as it was then. And it is always because of women. Fact.

LEIGH HUNT- They say that Keats and a few close friends once spent a whole evening discussing the derivation of the word c--t. I wonder if they were also thinking of a fitting word with which to rhyme with the name of the snidy, weasle known as Leigh Hunt?
My views on this man are very low. For those of you who have read 'The picture of Dorian Gray', Leigh Hunt seems to be a proper Henry Wotton. He ensnared men and if he thought something better was coming along then he would leave the men he'd trapped to fend for themselves. Even the picture of him shows him to be rat-like. Hmmmm

HAYDON- Funny, interesting bloke. Annoying though. ANd pompous too.
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Country matters - a Shakespearean pun

Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 31, 2004 8:59 pm

Thanks for a great reply Matt.

I just finished my rereading of Andrew Motions biography - the account of Keats' death is almost unbearable to read.

I still can't make up my mind who was Keats closest friend - perhaps it will never be resolved. He needed different people at different times for different things so I suppose it's a stupid question to ask.

Way to go for getting that word on the forum - were all adults here (I think) so why should such words be thought of as dirty - it's the most important piece of anatomy in the history of the human race, so why should it be called filthy - bloody puritanical moralists!!!
As you say, even Keast and his friends spent a whole discussion investigating the derivation of the word cunt (come on censor me if you dare!!!).
Last edited by Saturn on Sun Sep 05, 2004 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Matt » Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:05 pm

Wow! Stephen good work! You actually wrote the word cunt whereas I and even the poet laureate hadn't dared.

It seems silly or perhaps immature to commend you for that but as you say, why shouldnt we say it? Its a word, whether its slang or not. If people choose to take a simple four letter, really quite horrible sounding word as an insult, then thats their problem.

Viva la....c--t! (Oops...couldnt quite bring myself to writing it again...)
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Can't write won't write

Postby Saturn » Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:13 pm

Thanks Matt - did you see the Shakespearean quote "Country matters" - it means exactly what that other word means.

If the greatest and most well respected writer in the world can get away with it - why can't we?

No more cant, cant and more cant!!!!!

This is the bleedin' 21st century (well if you're a Christian it is).
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Postby Wickers_Poet » Mon Feb 14, 2005 3:47 am

Wow, I've never heard the CUNT argument. Is there a reference somewhere? Chaucer used the word and more than once though he spelt it very differently.
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Postby Becky » Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:18 pm

Even the picture of him shows him to be rat-like. Hmmmm


Did you know that Leigh Hunt was partly black? The artist probably wasn't used to portraying people of other races. Or even worse...
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Postby Fred » Thu Apr 21, 2005 4:28 pm

What I have to say is not about Keats but about swear words.

I just dont get the consept of them I mean it is not what you say but how you say it that makes it a swear word. I mean take shit for instance thats a word that is often substituted by sugar but how is that any better?
And when stephen said "cunt" you didnt mean it as a swear word but as a word describing what it is so why is that rude??
I just dont get it im afraid
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Postby Becky » Mon Apr 25, 2005 4:36 pm

I completely agree that swearing itself is the problem, not the word itself. Words simply should not be sworn, its an abuse of there power.
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Keats's Best Friend

Postby Malia » Fri Dec 09, 2005 6:44 am

I think Keats's very best friend was his brother, Tom. Keats was extremely close to both of his brothers growing up and relied on them a lot to help him "buffet it" through the world. But George Keats said once that Tom was the only person who really understood Keats in all his complexity. Tom and John could relate to eachother in a way beyond words. Keats was devistated by the loss of Tom and was haunted until the end of his life by Tom. Tom is said to have been alluded to in at least two of Keats's poems (Ode to a Nightingale: "Where youth grows pale and spectre thin and dies" and some say Tom helped inspire the image of the pale and loitering knight in La Belle Dame.) Keats felt at the end of his life that he was dying of a broken heart as he thought Tom had died (after Tom had supposedly fallen in love with Amelia Bellifalia--a woman Tom supposedly corresponded with but who never really existed; she was a joke character created by Charles Wells--a friend). And, in his last letter to Brown, he mentions how his sister reminds him of Tom--both of them, I suspect, walking through his mind "like a ghost".
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Postby Saturn » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:57 am

Interesting - I never thought of it like that.

I think another possiblility is that the only one who truly understood Keats was hyimself - his own imagination was his constant companion and his creativity was his way of trying to make himself understood by the world, as all artists I believe are trying to do.
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