Fanny Keats

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

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Fanny Keats

Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:34 pm

I'm wondering if any of you have heard of/read Marie Adami's 1937 biography of Fanny Keats. I read it my first year of college, and just recently acquired a copy from an online rare and used bookstore. It's a really fascinating book that not only looks at Keats from a unique angle, but focuses a lot on the Keats circle after his death. There are also some really interesting tidbits that I'm surprised I've not seen in any other biographies, including two photos of Fanny K (which had me completely floored, the family resemblence is so strong).

In any case, if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it!
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Postby Saturn » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:13 pm

Never seen or heard of that book - sounds interesting :shock:

The Andrew Motion Keats biography has some photos of FAnny in it I think and some interesting stuff about George Keats later life in America.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:16 pm

Photos of Fanny K? Really? My edition doesn't. . .

One detail from this book that really struck me was that Fanny didn't learn about George's death until five years after the fact, they'd drifted so much from each other.
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Postby Saturn » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:45 pm

Whoops - I haven't looked at that book for ages :roll: :oops:

I don't think there was any kind of falling out between the two. MAybe they were never that close, or as close as Keats and his brothers. For much of their lives, Fanny was brought up by the Abbey's and then was at school still when George left for America.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:55 pm

They were basically in two different worlds, George and Fanny. George was in American and Fanny was in Spain. And, as you say, Fanny really didn't get to see much of any of her brothers while she was with Abbey, and she was still quite young when George left.

The introduction of the Adami biography actually makes a very strong point about how Fanny didn't even know John very well, sadly. Yet, she continued to be devoted to him for the rest of her life, and we really have her to thank for a lot of what we know of Keats today.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:03 am

It occurred to me that I might not have posted these on this forum (I got confused between this one and the LJ group I joined at about the same time), and after doing a brief search, I don't think I did, but forgive me if I'm wrong and this is a repost. Here are a couple of photo scans from the Adami bio of Fanny Keats! :D

Fanny K in her 40s:
Image

Fanny K in Rome in the 1860s:
Image

Like I said earlier, I was completely floored by these when I first saw them.

Along with the couple of the bios we were discussing on the "Keats criticism" thread, this biography of Fanny Keats is one that I'd strongly recommend to anyone here who's interested in the out-of-print stuff related to Keats. There's so much in here about his family after his death (also relevant to a brief convo we had about Keats descendents, since the biographer actually travels to Spain to meet with some of them. . . although this was written in the 1930s, it's still interesting) that other bios don't get into in as much detail.

For instance, this is one that I thought was particularly bittersweet: The young Valentin Llanos supposedly had come to know of Keats when he was ill in Rome and went to visit him on occasion, even only three days before Keats died. The story goes that, due to this acquaintance, Llanos was eager to travel to England and visit Wentworth Place where Keats had lived. From there, we all know the rest: he and Fanny K were married in 1826 :D

There's little proof that this story panned out as it did, but conjecture points to it as a definite possibility. In any case, I personally love the idea that Keats, being the loving and protective older brother that he was, had that chance to "approve" of the man that his sister would eventually marry. :D

It's little gems like these that make this book a good read.
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Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 25, 2006 9:22 am

Interesting stuff Credo - thanks for posting.

Does anyone else think that Valentin Llanos was a bit creepy?

I mean to like a poets work is one thing but to go after his sister and to marry her.

Perhaps I'm being overly cynical here and I'm sure Fanny and Valentin genuinely loved each other but it is a bit strange.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Apr 25, 2006 1:20 pm

Well, I'm sure it wasn't his intention to go to London specifically with the intention of marrying Fanny.

Actually, she was still imprisoned at the Abbeys most of the time when Valentin Llanos first showed up, so without the intervention of Fanny B, it's likely that Fanny K would have had few or no opportunties to see him at all.

The impression that I get is that Llanos was really just wanting to immerse himself in Keats's circle to help understand him better. I think it's just by chance that he ended up becoming acquainted with Fanny K, because like I said, it would have taken quite a bit of doing with the Abbeys watching her like hawks :roll:

That makes me think of a reason why Llanos would have been particularly attractive to her: he's foreign, and he could take her far, far away from London and Abbey! Poor girl :(
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Postby Malia » Tue Apr 25, 2006 5:20 pm

This is such an amazing thread! Thanks for posting the photograph of Fanny Keats, Credo. It is kind of spooky, isn't it? Especially considering she had a very wide mouth--which Keats himself was supposed to have had. And it seems to me, after looking at drawings of all the Keats kids, they had very similar eyes. To see those eyes and that mouth in a *photo* of someone so closely related to Keats--it is kind of ghostly.

I will definitely be on the look-out for that bio of Fanny Keats. I love collecting out-of-print and obscure books about Keats and his circle. I have a bio of Joseph Severn that contains a pic of Keats on the Maria Crowther--a picture I've never seen published in any of Keats's biographies and I wonder why becuase it is so haunting.
Last edited by Malia on Tue Apr 25, 2006 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby dks » Tue Apr 25, 2006 6:18 pm

:shock:

awesome pics. Thanks, Credo! Yes, she favored her oldest brother hauntingly so... :shock:

and now we get some semblance of what he himself might have looked like (I mean shape of face whatnot) had he lived longer...
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Postby Malia » Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:01 pm

Credo,
You said that Fanny Keats didn't really know John Keats very well. What does the biography say about how she viewed and remembered her brother? What kinds of impressions did she have of him? Did Fanny Keats have any interesting stories about John to share?

I think it is extremely sad that she and George had a falling out. I think it stemmed from the fact that George didn't visit her when he came to England in 1820.
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Postby dks » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:58 pm

Malia wrote:Credo,
You said that Fanny Keats didn't really know John Keats very well. What does the biography say about how she viewed and remembered her brother? What kinds of impressions did she have of him? Did Fanny Keats have any interesting stories about John to share?

I think it is extremely sad that she and George had a falling out. I think it stemmed from the fact that George didn't visit her when he came to England in 1820.


I'm betting Mary Frances knew her brother best from those magnificent letters he sent her--

Poor George...always needing cash to get himself out of the hole...
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:04 am

Aren't those photos amazing! I remember being in my first year of college, sitting on the floor in front of the "Keats section" of the library and marvelling at the selection, picking this book off the shelf, flipping through, and then coming to that first photo and just stopping. You can definitely tell who her brother is!

I'll have to look up your question, Malia, since I don't know off the top of my head, but I'll get back to you a little later :wink:
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Postby Malia » Wed Apr 26, 2006 12:43 am

Credo Buffa wrote:I'll have to look up your question, Malia, since I don't know off the top of my head, but I'll get back to you a little later :wink:


I'm looking forward to it. Thanks :D
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Postby dks » Wed Apr 26, 2006 4:13 am

Credo Buffa wrote:Aren't those photos amazing! I remember being in my first year of college, sitting on the floor in front of the "Keats section" of the library and marvelling at the selection, picking this book off the shelf, flipping through, and then coming to that first photo and just stopping. You can definitely tell who her brother is!

I'll have to look up your question, Malia, since I don't know off the top of my head, but I'll get back to you a little later :wink:


Yes...haunting :shock:
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