Fanny Brawne- victims or traitor?

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

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Fanny Brawne- victims or traitor?

Postby Tina » Mon Jul 10, 2006 6:00 pm

Dear all,
What do you think about this woman?

P.S. Please,advice me some biographies works about J. Keats
It' s very difficult to find something about Keats in Ukraine :(
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Re: Fanny Brawne- victims or traitor?

Postby Malia » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:29 pm

Tina wrote:Dear all,
What do you think about this woman?

P.S. Please,advice me some biographies works about J. Keats
It' s very difficult to find something about Keats in Ukraine :(
Tina


Hello Tina :) Welcome to the forum!
As far as biographies about Keats are concerned, some of the best written in English are:
John Keats, The Making of a Poet by Aileen Ward
John Keats by Robert Gittings
John Keats by Andrew Motion

I also recommend a good collection of Keats's letters in addition to biographies written about him to get a well-rounded look at him as a person and a poet.

I think you can purchase these books on Amazon.com--but I don't know if you have access to that store in the Ukraine.

Regarding your question about Fanny Brawne--victim or traitor? I'd say she was neither. She was a human being with faults, she was a young woman testing out love (Keats was a young man, doing the same thing). I think there is a tendency to either cast Fanny Brawne as a heroine or a thoughtless or mean-spirited flirt. I think she was *neither*. I suspect she wasn't as passionate, perhaps, as Keats was but that doesn't make her a villian or "unworthy" of him. He certainly had *his* faults, poet or not.

I've just been re-reading "Darkling I Listen: The Last Days of John Keats" and the author--I can't remember his name--really bugs me when it comes to his views about Fanny Brawne. He seems to want to prove she was emotionally cold, loved Keats primarily because she felt sorry for leading him on through her flirting, and who kept his letters and ring primarily so she could make money off them someday. While Keats is painted as the poor victim of her unfortunate attitude. OK, Keats pratically *abused* her in some of his letters--hated and loved her by turns--pushed her away and pulled her close with the angish of a drowning man and *she's* the only one with a problem?? I don't *think* so!
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Postby dks » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:29 pm

Tina, are you needing this information for school? What sort of information are you looking for? Are you wanting to know about Fanny Brawne in association with her relationship with Keats or Fanny Brawne, the girl herself?

There are quite a few outstanding biographies; one which is noted for its approach to the relationship between Keats and Fanny Brawne is John Keats by Robert Gittings. I'm not sure if you can get that in the Ukraine, but perhaps you may order it online, from Amazon books? The link I've pasted below takes you straight to the used Amazon page where one used copy is available...the used prices are a bargain!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... 46?ie=UTF8

Good luck. I hope this helps. If not, let me know and I'll be glad to give you my opinions and relay any knowledge I have about Fanny Brawne--as I'm sure anyone else on here would, as well. :wink:
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Postby dks » Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:43 pm

Miss Malia beat me to the post...

Well, I agree and disagree with that view of Ms. Brawne. Here's why: I think she was, like you say, Malia, harmlessly flirtatious and was simply a young 18-19 year old finding her identity, so this, in turn, does not make her an evil, cold, heartless wretch that she's sometimes made out to be--rather, she was simply young and naive, with little understanding of men in general; however, I also think she milked it a bit with regard to Keats. He poured his soul out to her--loved her with a passion unrivaled by most men overall, I would say, and I think she just didn't know how to match that passion--riot for riot. She was not as black and white as Keats was--Fanny is known to have been quite mercurial and wistful in her initial impressions. She was a bit off the ground, I think...I think she loved the fact that Keats loved her--and that may have been enough for him...tragically, though, I think that by the time she started developing any semblance of real feeling for him--he was already gravely ill...by this time, it was a matter of her feeling an urgency to take care of him more than anything else. Then, of course, he dies and that was devastating for her, I think, chiefly because of the sheer sadness of the situation and timing of it all...I don't think it's too deterministic also to suspect that she also felt a certain healthy dose of guilt--because she didn't unabashedly return his affections sooner--the way he did.

I truly believe, had he lived, Keats would had to have married someone else in order to be happy--I believe the relationship would not have lasted. Fanny would've been absolutely worn down by his gripping passion and his possessiveness, coupled with his enigmatic brooding tendencies (the famous "fits and starts" that help define him)--that push and pull would've simultaneously lured and repelled her...and, ultimately, venerated her...he would've needed someone with a passion to match his own. :?
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Postby Malia » Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:01 pm

dks wrote:Miss Malia beat me to the post...


I truly believe, had he lived, Keats would had to have married someone else in order to be happy--I believe the relationship would not have lasted. Fanny would've been absolutely worn down by his gripping passion and his possessiveness, coupled with his enigmatic brooding tendencies (the famous "fits and starts" that help define him)--that push and pull would've simultaneously lured and repelled her...and, ultimately, venerated her...he would've needed someone with a passion to match his own. :?


I agree that their relationship, if it had been able to continue, wouldn't probably have made it too far. Keats wasn't just a passionate poet--he was a man with some *deep* relational wounds when it came to women. Frankly, I'm not sure he'd be able to make it very far with *any* woman he might marry. I dont' think just finding a woman with a passion to match his own would have made it any better--all that passion would, I think, just contribute to a bigger explosion. Someone who was logical with a calming, steady nature might have made a better match. . .Keats himself thought he'd do best as a bachelor and he might have been one had his brothers not died or left. I think their departure left his heart open to love--and Fanny was there, available and they did have some things in common (early parental death by TB being one). But I think, had Tom been well and not died (whether or not George went to America), Keats probably wouldn't have fallen in love with Fanny B. in the first place.
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Postby dks » Mon Jul 10, 2006 9:54 pm

Malia wrote:I agree that their relationship, if it had been able to continue, wouldn't probably have made it too far. Keats wasn't just a passionate poet--he was a man with some *deep* relational wounds when it came to women. Frankly, I'm not sure he'd be able to make it very far with *any* woman he might marry. I dont' think just finding a woman with a passion to match his own would have made it any better--all that passion would, I think, just contribute to a bigger explosion. Someone who was logical with a calming, steady nature might have made a better match. . .Keats himself thought he'd do best as a bachelor and he might have been one had his brothers not died or left. I think their departure left his heart open to love--and Fanny was there, available and they did have some things in common (early parental death by TB being one). But I think, had Tom been well and not died (whether or not George went to America), Keats probably wouldn't have fallen in love with Fanny B. in the first place.


I agree with all you say here on that, Malia. You're right in that had Tom not passed (or even gotten ill) Keats probably would have preserved his guard and left marriage for his more conventional counterparts--he'd have done good by doing that, too, I think. It would have left him room for the more Romantic, Shelleyian experiences that he would have naturally been curious about. He would have had to shake loose that utter Keatsian trait of feeling gushes of anguish and distress over ceratin indulgences...it was an ingrained characteristic with which he battled certainly. I am still fitting those pieces of the puzzle that is him together to pin down difinitvely all those marvelous things that ultimately set him apart from the other younger Romantic poets. :?
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Postby Tina » Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:51 pm

Thanks a lot :!:
No ,dks, not for school.
On my oppinion ,relationships had and have a great role in the life ob genius.
For example, I think that Lady Byron "helped" her husband die...
Thats why I ask...
With the best wishes
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Postby dks » Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:35 pm

Tina wrote:Thanks a lot :!:
No ,dks, not for school.
On my oppinion ,relationships had and have a great role in the life ob genius.
For example, I think that Lady Byron "helped" her husband die...
Thats why I ask...
With the best wishes
Tina


Ha! I think you're right, Tina. After all, Byron used to love to sit bolt upright in the middle of the night while laying beside Lady Byron and scream out, "I'm in hell!"

Boy, he tortured her...that rogue, Byron. :wink: :lol:
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Postby Saturn » Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:48 pm

Um Lady Byron was 2000 miles away when Byron died in Greece :roll:

Some sources even suggest that even at the end he had a copy of her bible in the room he died.

Their relationship was not as black-and-white as many think. He did at one time genuinely love her.

But don't get me started on Byron - I'm a bit of an expert on him. :wink:
Last edited by Saturn on Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:42 pm

Malia wrote:Frankly, I'm not sure he'd be able to make it very far with *any* woman he might marry.

Keats has always struck me as one who would always admire women, but never really want to be married to one. Somehow, in my mind, imagining him "tied down" just doesn't work. :?

I suppose we might be able to look at both Keats and Fanny as being equally "victims and traitors" in their relationship. Fanny's affection for Keats may have been too naive or even juvenile for someone with such a passionate nature as Keats, but then again, his affection for her may simply have been the result of projecting his need for a close and unconditional relationship onto her rather than the fact that he actually, in his heart of hearts, wanted to marry her and stay with her forever. Of course, we can't expect that either of them would realize their own emotional and psychological motivations, so you can't really blame either of them for it. But either way, it seems a relationship doomed to failure. :(
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Postby Saturn » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:49 pm

Alas this is probbaly the truth.

It's one of those tantalising "what-if's" of literature.

Like many literary relationships touched by tragedy it will forever be like the people on the Grecian Urn - forever beautiful, forever young, frozen in an instant. Ripe with possibility and also uncertainty.

Perhaps the most 'perfect' kind of love is that which is unfulfilled :cry:

In that case I'm the most perfect lover in history :? :roll: :oops:
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Postby Credo Buffa » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:53 pm

Saturn wrote:Perhaps the most 'perfect' kind of love is that which is unfulfilled :cry:

In that case I'm the most perfect lover in history :? :roll: :oops:

Way to make a downer into an upper. :wink:
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Postby Saturn » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:56 pm

I thought I was being self-effacing there, ironic and self-deprecating.

:roll:
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Postby Malia » Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:59 pm

One thing to keep in mind about Keats and his romantic relationships was that he was extremely *young* when he had one. Even back in his day, 23 or 24 was still young (especially for a man and therefore not having had the sword of being an "old maid" hanging over him). Maybe Keats *could* have gotten married after he'd toured around Europe and written a few plays and books of poetry. I could potentially see him looking into the mirror one day at age 42 saying, "Well, I've become the most influential and popular writer since Shakespeare--tick that off my list--and I have enough money to be more than comfortable--tick that one off, too--and I have a cat. . .hmm. . .I suppose I should get me a wife and have done with it. It's about time." ;)
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Postby Credo Buffa » Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:01 am

Well, by that point, Malia, he'd have to be beating away the ladies from his doorstep with a stick!
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