Interesting article on Charles Brown

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Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Raphael » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:33 am

This article I found very interesting- it shows that perhaps he has been unfairly viewed sometimes:


http://www.rc.umd.edu/editions/brownsevern/intro.html
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Cybele » Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:51 am

Thanks again, Raphael.
This gives a more nuanced, rounded portrait of Brown than I've read anywhere else. While I'm still not happy with him for not accompanying his friend to Italy, his long-standing friendship with Severn speaks volumes.

Brown's interest in domestic matters portrays him quite differently than he was in "Bright Star," doesn't it?
An interest in comfortable furnishings and a well cooked meal -- that's surprising to me.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Raphael » Fri Mar 26, 2010 2:07 am

Thanks again, Raphael.


You are welcome!
:D

This gives a more nuanced, rounded portrait of Brown than I've read anywhere else. While I'm still not happy with him for not accompanying his friend to Italy, his long-standing friendship with Severn speaks volumes.



Yes- it does give a fuller picture of Brown. I think if he was truly an awful person Joseph Severn wouldn't have wanted to know him, nor would Junkets. It is unclear why he didn't go to Italy with John- perhaps he didn't really think John was dying, maybe he knew it and couldn't face watching him die? He was devasted by his passing we know that- he couldn't write the memoirs for a long time and when he did he had to keep stopping as he felt John's spirit was around him- though he didn't know what to make of it. Brown's memoirs make painful but interesting reading.


Brown's interest in domestic matters portrays him quite differently than he was in "Bright Star," doesn't it?
An interest in comfortable furnishings and a well cooked meal -- that's surprising to me.


Indeed it does! I have imagined that John did the cooking in Wentworth Place for the both of them ( with maybe the maid doing some of it)- but maybe the pair of them cooked together. :D

And I was pleased to read that Joseph took intererest in his illegitmate son- so maybe the mother wasn't from the Life Academy but maybe a local girl he'd been having a fling with.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Cybele » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:17 pm

Raphael wrote:
Yes- it does give a fuller picture of Brown. I think if he was truly an awful person Joseph Severn wouldn't have wanted to know him, nor would Junkets. It is unclear why he didn't go to Italy with John- perhaps he didn't really think John was dying, maybe he knew it and couldn't face watching him die? He was devasted by his passing we know that- he couldn't write the memoirs for a long time and when he did he had to keep stopping as he felt John's spirit was around him- though he didn't know what to make of it. Brown's memoirs make painful but interesting reading.


I've spent years ticked off at the man! I've known many people who wanted what they wanted and did what they wanted and the heck with everybody else. I thought Brown was one of those people -- Amusing, intelligent and affable, but mostly interested in his own welfare.

But, you're correct -- he could have been in denial about the seriousness of John's illness or -- more likely -- knew full well where things were heading and he didn't want to watch.

One thing I'm pretty certain of (especially after reading that article) is that Brown was probably not the churl portrayed as in "Bright Star." Fanny would not have been the only person to dislike him!
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby BrokenLyre » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:36 pm

I agree. The movie pushed the "negatives" which Brown possessed too far and didn't balance it with his genuine friendship.

Consider the good side of Charles Browne:

In the summer 1820, Keats was suffering from TB. Charles Brown typically rented out his home during the summer when rents were highest. He was especially eager to do so that summer since the impending birth of his child and support for its mother put a strain on his finances. He cast about for somewhere for John Keats to stay, and it was Leigh Hunt (Keats’ first true literary supporter & publisher of a magazine) who came to the rescue.
The rent was much cheaper than in Hampstead proper but still within a mile of Fanny's Brawne’s home. It was also still close to town, so that Keats could continue to advise Taylor and Hessey (his publishers) on his last book. Hunt promised to keep close watch upon Keats. And Brown, despite his own financial troubles, lent Keats £50 for summer expenses; he borrowed the money from his lawyer. He also paid Keats's moving expenses and first weeks' rent. All of this was on top of forgiving Keats' household expenses for the last several weeks at his home. Brown then left for Scotland, with Keats accompanying him to Gravesend. The two friends never met again.

Let's summarize:
That is 4 things Brown did at his own expense – when he could ill afford it!
1. Canceled last weeks debt at his (Brown’s) house
2. Paid for Keats’ moving expenses to live near Hunt
3. Paid for his first week’s rent in the new place near Hunt
4. Gave him 50 pounds (a lot of money – about 3 months worth of living expenses)

Anyway, I think Brown felt some commitment to his child and financial obligations also affected his decision. If Brown did go to Italy with Keats, can you imagine how history would have viewed him?
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Malia » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:42 pm

OK, not to "dis" Brown, but the money he offered Keats for his Summer residence while Brown was away was not a gift, but a loan. He expected that money back someday. In fact, when Keats died, he presented the bill Keats had racked up to his brother George, expecting payment in full.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Cybele » Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:49 pm

Malia wrote:OK, not to "dis" Brown, but the money he offered Keats for his Summer residence while Brown was away was not a gift, but a loan. He expected that money back someday. In fact, when Keats died, he presented the bill Keats had racked up to his brother George, expecting payment in full.


Brown certainly did send George a bill for the rent, wine & spirits, doctors' bills, etc. George promptly paid him.

Alas, George is another person about whom I have mixed feelings.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Raphael » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:09 am

My DVD of the film arrived today so I watched it whilst having my dinner. I was thinking back to this discussion whilst watching his less pleasant characteristics. My view of him is that he certainly had his faults but he truly cared for John. Even John knew his faults- he wrote in one of his letters about Brown's tendency to take dislike to people. Yes, he asked for the money back from George- but he probably couldn't afforded to have not to.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby BrokenLyre » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:27 am

All good points.

Yes, Brown did get repaid (not exactly sure if it were completely paid). But it seems to me that in Keats' day it was quite common to "give" to friends and expect to be "repaid". (See Haydon and Keats etc...) Such loans were extremely common and not necessarily viewed negatively. If fact, it seems an example of a valued bond of friendship to borrow and lend to others. I just think that social and economic differences for us today may cause us to look down on Brown's efforts when in fact he did what he thought was helpful for Keats before he left for Italy. And it was at his expense. In short, he did what any friend would do (fulfill social norms of friendship for his day). Friendships today don't often take the same financial form as they did in Keats' era. And this should be borne in mind when we evaluate Keats' friends and their efforts to help. Brown being "repaid" by George (or anybody else), may not be the best metric to evaluate the genuineness of his efforts or the concern of his heart for John Keats. That's my point
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Raphael » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:45 am

BrokenLyre wrote:All good points.

Yes, Brown did get repaid (not exactly sure if it were completely paid). But it seems to me that in Keats' day it was quite common to "give" to friends and expect to be "repaid". (See Haydon and Keats etc...) Such loans were extremely common and not necessarily viewed negatively. If fact, it seems an example of a valued bond of friendship to borrow and lend to others. I just think that social and economic differences for us today may cause us to look down on Brown's efforts when in fact he did what he thought was helpful for Keats before he left for Italy. And it was at his expense. In short, he did what any friend would do (fulfill social norms of friendship for his day). Friendships today don't often take the same financial form as they did in Keats' era. And this should be borne in mind when we evaluate Keats' friends and their efforts to help. Brown being "repaid" by George (or anybody else), may not be the best metric to evaluate the genuineness of his efforts or the concern of his heart for John Keats. That's my point


All good points Broken Lyre- they were loans not gifts and I think if Brown had been rich enough he wouldn't have asked George for the money back. But most people today when they loan money want it back at some point- that's not unreasonable.
I found mysefl as moved watching the film as I was the first two times.I watched all the extras and found Ben quite moving when in his interview he said he had been changed by portraying John Keats.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:59 am

Yes, I saw the film now 8 times. I think I'm getting it.
Love your signature Raphael. When and where did John say that? To whom?
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Raphael » Fri Apr 02, 2010 10:42 pm

BrokenLyre wrote:Yes, I saw the film now 8 times. I think I'm getting it.
Love your signature Raphael. When and where did John say that? To whom?


I am up to 4 times now ( twice at the cinema and twice on the DVD). I watched it again this evening having my dinner- I found myself still as moved as the first time. The bit where he has fallen outside Wentowrth Place and Fanny calls his name and he says to stay way if she does not love him, and she takes no offence and holds him and says "Oh my love.." And he says he felt his heart was breaking is so so sad.


As for the signature- I found it on a Keats Quotes online, but I don't know where it comes from. I assume he said/wrote it as all the others I recognise.
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Saturn » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:51 am

I've just googled that quote, and I'm afraid it's actually by JFK, sorry Raphael.

http://quotations.about.com/od/stillmor ... nnedy2.htm

It always looked a bit too modern, in language and sentiment to be by Keats I thought, now I know why.
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Re: Interesting article on Charles Brown

Postby Raphael » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:58 pm

Saturn wrote:I've just googled that quote, and I'm afraid it's actually by JFK, sorry Raphael.

http://quotations.about.com/od/stillmor ... nnedy2.htm

It always looked a bit too modern, in language and sentiment to be by Keats I thought, now I know why.



Thank you Saturn! I did have my doubts- as you can see now I have a genuine Junkets quote!
John....you did not live to see-
who we are because of what you left,
what it is we are in what we make of you.

Peter Sanson, 1995.
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