Voyage to Italy

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

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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:44 am

I really, really enjoyed Darkling I Listen. Walsh has a really great prose style that is engaging to read, and I like that he writes portions of it almost as a novel rather than a biography. As for the "characterization" of Fanny Brawne, you won't have gotten this far yet if you are only part way through it, but Walsh devotes the whole last chapter to her life after Keats's death. He actually goes a long way toward showing how literary history has treated her quite unfairly, showing that she was a very intelligent and perceptive young woman, and that she really did love Keats.

Stick with it. You won't regret it, I promise :)
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Darkling I Listen

Postby Malia » Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:03 pm

I finished "Darkling I Listen" last night and I didn't get the sense that he was very sympathetic to Fanny Brawne at all. His sympathy toward Severn was much more evident. (I appreciated his sypmathy toward Severn, as I do think Severn has been treated somewhat unsympathetically by many of Keats's biographers.) He takes pains to mention in the letter Fanny wrote to Brown in 1829, how she'd rather Keats lived in the obscurity in which he died and that if she had it her way only she would remember him. He hinted also that she relatively quickly gave up honoring Keats's memory and that she eventually considered her relationship with Keats as a youthful mistake--that she didn't think he was really all that great (as a person or a poet, I assume) after some years had passed. The author quotes her letters as ultimate proof of his interpretation. In fact, Fanny's wish that Keats be left in the obsucurity to which fate had led him could be a type of loyalty to Keats's memory--after all, Keats himself toward the end of his life hoped that his memory would be forgotten.

I'm not trying to defend all of Fanny's actions toward Keats. I'm sure she was unsentimental and aloof in many ways. She was also rather young. I can imagine that, looking over his last letters to her, she would be angered by his jeallous rages and the injustice he showed to her. I just think the author tries to convince us that his interpretation of his source material is truth. It is not truth, it is an interpretation.

That said, considering I read the book in less than 2 days, I enjoyed the read :) One thing I liked about the book was how the author provided some striking images that I really appreciated. One of my favorites is the thought that, while Severn was holding Keats in his arms as Keats took his last breath, the oval carnelian that he held religiously through his illness would have fallen out of his palm and onto the bed. (He, of course, presents this image with much more skill than I.)

I'm glad you enjoyed the book--and thanks so much for providing your impression of it :D
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Postby crazypiano » Wed Jan 18, 2006 5:06 pm

Stephen Saturn wrote:Another real problem is who could possibly play him - whocould look like him and be the right age and the right height? It would ahve to be some unknown actor I think so he could fully realise the character without the burden of previous roles - no Hollywood stars could really do him justice that I can think of.


I think Fele Martinez is OK,I mean,the appearence.Is there anyone else think so?
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Postby Malia » Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:12 pm

I've never heard of Fele Martinez. (Of course, I haven't heard of a lot of people! :lol: ) But I googled him and he does have an interesting "look". He's got Keats-like eyes, I'd say. The pics I saw show that he definitely has an intense aura which is awesome.

I have to laugh a little when I think about who would be best to play Keats in a movie as I'm sure when the movie is ever finally made, whoever we mention as being good prospects to play him will probably be in his 80's--or dead! :roll:
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Postby Saturn » Wed Jan 18, 2006 11:23 pm

I think if there is a good story, even if the actor doesn't look exactly like Keats it could be great.

It's all to do with the script and what aspect of Keats' life it would focus on - his work, his love-life, his illness, his 'life-and-times'?

I think it has to tiptoe between the serious aspects and Keats' well-known humour.

I've just had a brainwave!!!

An excellent subject for a movie would be the legendary 'Immortal Dinner' at Haydon's with Hunt, Keats, Wordsworth, Lamb etc - I can see it now in my mind's eye :D
Last edited by Saturn on Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:08 am

Stephen Saturn wrote:I've just had abrainwave!!!

An excellent subject for a movie would be the legendary 'Immortal Dinner' at Haydon's with Hunt, Keats, Wordsworth, Lamb etc - I cdan see it now in my mind's eye :D

asdlfkjasd;lfjasdlfkjas;dlfkj!!!!!!!!!! It so would! I've got a fun book by Penelope Hughes-Hallett on the "Immortal Dinner" that would be a great source. It's sort of hard to read because it randomly dives into all these little side stories which dive into little side stories, etc. . . but there's just so much interesting material there that a screenwriter would have a ball putting all these fascinating and very eclectic characters into the same room at the same time :D
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Postby Saturn » Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:31 am

I've seen that book - I'll now rush out tomorrow to find it :D

Now here's another idea - why don't we, collectively write the script, or at least come up with the scenario, characters scenes etc. ?
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Postby Credo Buffa » Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:16 am

Yay! Keats forum project!!! *hysterical and slightly devious laughter of excitement here*
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Postby Malia » Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:04 am

Stephen Saturn wrote:Now here's another idea - why don't we, collectively write the script, or at least come up with the scenario, characters scenes etc. ?


I think coming up with the scenario/scenes would be fun--most definitely. I've actually tried to think of different ways a Keats script could "work" it would be interesting to put our heads together and see if anything "fleshes out". I think the trick is knowing what to keep and what to throw away--and what exactly to focus on. . .like you all were talking about earlier regarding the Immortal Dinner.
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Postby Despondence » Thu Jan 19, 2006 5:19 am

One thing that could be cool would be to see the whole evening from multiple PoV's... So first we get Lamb's story, then the same events as retold by Wordsworth, then maybe Haydon or Keats... :)
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Postby Malia » Thu Jan 19, 2006 6:42 am

Despondence wrote:One thing that could be cool would be to see the whole evening from multiple PoV's... So first we get Lamb's story, then the same events as retold by Wordsworth, then maybe Haydon or Keats... :)


Maybe each person could take a character and write from that character's POV--even for a small scene. . .or one we make up ourselves. (There's nothing to say that a scene *had* to have taken place in real life--it just has to look like it could have taken place and been realistic.)

For my part, I'd like to play Severn. I believe he has the distinction of being the first real "mimbo"--that is, "male bimbo" hehe Well, OK, I'll give him some credit--he wasn't exactly a mimbo, just a guy who was really gullible and good looking. Wait, that *is* a mimbo, isn't it?

:wink:

(I am serious about agreeing with Despondence on the POV issue, though. :) )
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Postby Saturn » Thu Jan 19, 2006 10:55 am

I think seeing the whole thing through Severn's eye's would be an excellent idea.

The film could begin with a shot of the epitaph on Keats' headstone in Rome, then, like Citizen Kane we pan around the city of Rome to the Keats-Shelley memorial House in the present day then we zoom in and reach the window, closing in on a scene with Keats on his deathbed and Severn nursing him attentively.

The scene then switches back to Keats days as an apprentice surgeon living with Tom and George and takes us through his rise to fame, meeting Fanny etc. and his untimely end.

Severn could be the narrator who goes around after his death visiting those who knew him best to try and puzzle out who John Keats the man actually was.

I know it's a bit of a hackneyed idea which has been done a million times but I think it could work.

Oh if only I had the time and talent to do this :shock:

I've written two short scripts [one an animation and the other a short teen-drama] no more than 15 minutes in length but I'd love to do it professionally one day as my poetic ambitions have been sadly abandoned :(
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