George Keats in America

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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Ennis » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:28 am

BrokenLyre wrote:Cybele and Ennis - Wow... you would really go? That would be great. I love the phrase "sympathetic and bewildered" :D My wife is somewhat sympathetic and bewildered! She saw "Bright Star" once with me. She'd watch it again with me, probably in a few months....I saw it 9 times and I own two copies. Ennis - your husband deserves MANY kudos if he saw the movie 9 times with you! Why would he go with you 9 times if Keats doesn't mean anything to him???? Amazing, truly. He deserves a Big Brassy medal! And he must really love you.

Both of you can tell your husbands that I, as a man, also love (and know a great deal about) music, football, baseball, cars, electronics, explosions, dirt, rocks, war movies, the military, Mixed Martial Arts and other "manly things," like having worked on drilling rigs etc... Then they would be "bewildered" :D

At any rate, I will look into some options in Kentucky. I just think it would be great to get some Keatsians together for a day or so in Louisville. If I win the lottery I will fly everybody to Hampstead...but in lieu of that happening, I'll look into Kentucky.


BrokenLyre,

Hey, if I win the NC State Lottery (ha!!), I'd be more than willing to chipping in more than my fair share to the Pilgrimage to Hampstead (and other Keatsian sites!!). Gosh, am I getting ecxited about this idea of yours! Keep us in touch, and let us know if there is anything we can to do help make this happen!!!! And you have two rooms for Keats; oh, you lucky, lucky man (are we Keatsians "sick"?? :)).
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cath » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:14 pm

Great to see the pictures of the graves. Are those humble stumps really the graves of George and Georgiana?

Image

I've never been to Cave Hill Cemetery, but seen pictures of a somewhat more pompous monument to GK there. Is the above a memorial to George & the Keats family in America and the stumps mark the exact spot where George's and Georgiana's bodies are buried?

Here's the link where I found the pictures in case you're interested:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7765538
"Why should we be owls, when we can be Eagles?" (Keats to Reynolds, 3 February 1818)
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Raphael » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:14 am

If I win the lottery I'm buying a period house and starting my own business! A house like Wentworth Place I hope....
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: George Keats in America

Postby Cybele » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:24 am

Cath wrote:Great to see the pictures of the graves. Are those humble stumps really the graves of George and Georgiana?

Image

I've never been to Cave Hill Cemetery, but seen pictures of a somewhat more pompous monument to GK there. Is the above a memorial to George & the Keats family in America and the stumps mark the exact spot where George's and Georgiana's bodies are buried?

Here's the link where I found the pictures in case you're interested:
http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7765538


That "pompous monument" was put there by Georgiana's second husband and it is very typical for the time in American cemeteries. It's a marker for the whole family. And yes, those little stubs are George & Georgiana's actual graves. I understand that their graves were moved from another cemetery. The granite bit with the cross on top of the masonry part appears to be a much later addition, and looks to me to have been made possibly as late as the mid-20th century. George & Georgiana's headstones, as well as those of a couple of their children and many of the Speed family (in whose plot the Keats graves are located) are made of a soft limestone.

This type of limestone weathers terribly and George and Georgiana's initials on the tops of the markers are very eroded. I could see nothing -- no dates or anything -- on the faces of the stones.

Image
(These are the grave markers of Phillip and Emily Keats Speed and some of their children. Also made of soft limestone, you can see how eroded they are.)

The Cave Hill Cemetery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cave_Hill_Cemetery is probably the most beautiful I've ever visited. There are a great many notable people buried there including George Rogers Clark http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Rogers_Clark, a major figure in the American Revolution, members of the previously mentioned Speed family, and <cringe> Colonel Sanders of fried chicken fame.

One of the most poignant things I noticed while there was that the graves of the (American) Civil War dead are buried in different areas depending on whether they fought on the side of the North or the South.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cybele » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:32 am

Ennis wrote:Hey, if I win the NC State Lottery (ha!!), I'd be more than willing to chipping in more than my fair share to the Pilgrimage to Hampstead (and other Keatsian sites!!). Gosh, am I getting ecxited about this idea of yours! Keep us in touch, and let us know if there is anything we can to do help make this happen!!!! And you have two rooms for Keats; oh, you lucky, lucky man (are we Keatsians "sick"?? :)).


Ennis and BrokenLyre,
Did you get the PM I sent you a few days ago? I thought it best not to annoy the rest of the forum with our possible plans.

Ennis, we may not be sick but we are a teeny bit obsessive. Just a teeny-tiny bit. :lol: (I have only an over-flowing bookcase and half the living room as my "shrine.")
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cath » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:52 pm

Thanks Cybele for the detailed information! Great to learn more.

What do we know about Georgiana's second husband, Jon Jeffery (1817-1881), in terms of character? I've read that he was a city architect who built gas works in Louisville, Cincinnati, Havana etc., and that Georgiana married him relatively quickly after GK's death in 1841 (well, she had many children to feed and GK lost a lot of money towards the end of his life, I seem to remember). He was quite a bit younger than GK - around 20 years in fact.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cybele » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:46 pm

Cath wrote:Thanks Cybele for the detailed information! Great to learn more.

What do we know about Georgiana's second husband, Jon Jeffery (1817-1881), in terms of character? I've read that he was a city architect who built gas works in Louisville, Cincinnati, Havana etc., and that Georgiana married him relatively quickly after GK's death in 1841 (well, she had many children to feed and GK lost a lot of money towards the end of his life, I seem to remember). He was quite a bit younger than GK - around 20 years in fact.


Yes, John Jeffrey was indeed younger than Georgiana. He was a great admirer of George Keats and I wonder if he was actually marrying Georgiana or the memory of George. Jeffery was an accomplished man, of course, in his own right, and also a fairly prominent Louisville citizen. Denise Gigante reports that Jeffrey moved into George and Georgiana's grand house and lived there a number of years before moving to Cincinnati.

Georgiana did marry very quickly after George's death. She still had half a dozen kids at home, & almost certainly did not want to loose the beautiful home that held so many memories of her late husband.

Jeffrey copied many of John's letters to Big George and Little George as well as other original Keats papers for various scholars. Unfortunately, he was not a terribly accurate copyist -- but he *did* preserve some valuable Keats material that may otherwise have been lost.

I'll look back over my notes that I made when I read the Naomi Kirk dissertation that's housed at the Filson Club in Louisville to see if I've got any more information on him. However, I do believe that he was an honorable, respected person in that town.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby BrokenLyre » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:48 am

You are correct Cybele - Gigante says a lot about Jeffrey and he seems to have been a reasonably honest man.

By the accounts I have read, George Keats was Louisville's first "millionaire." This is just another ironic twist in the life of the Keats brothers. John dies before his brother becomes wealthy, and so he never saw that either. Truly ironic and adds to John's tragedy the more I think of it.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Raphael » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:07 am

BrokenLyre wrote:You are correct Cybele - Gigante says a lot about Jeffrey and he seems to have been a reasonably honest man.

By the accounts I have read, George Keats was Louisville's first "millionaire." This is just another ironic twist in the life of the Keats brothers. John dies before his brother becomes wealthy, and so he never saw that either. Truly ironic and adds to John's tragedy the more I think of it.


My goodness what a tragedy indeed! And very sad....and yet his poems have sold in their millions in the almost 200 years after his passing yet he had no direct descendants to benefit from the sales. :(
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: George Keats in America

Postby BrokenLyre » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:07 am

Yes, Raphael, you make a good point. And so the John Keats legacy is a remarkably troubled one, from the perspective of worldly wealth at least. However, it is also true that "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" said Jesus. Thus, Keats has served the world in a remarkable way for which we are are all thankful.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cath » Mon Feb 13, 2012 1:47 pm

From what I've read, John Jeffrey seems to be regarded relatively negatively in Keats scholarship because of inaccuracies or "sloppiness" in his transcription of JK's letters and work and perhaps also for marrying "too quickly" into the George and John Keats story (although of course that wasn't his decision alone). What doesn't seem to be appreciated are his endeavours to preserve JK's work and share it with others across the Atlantic - so it's good to see some more balanced and positive comments about him on here!

BrokenLyre wrote: By the accounts I have read, George Keats was Louisville's first "millionaire." This is just another ironic twist in the life of the Keats brothers. John dies before his brother becomes wealthy, and so he never saw that either. Truly ironic and adds to John's tragedy the more I think of it.


But what would have JK gained from knowing of his brother's later wealth? I can't imagine he would have wanted hand-outs from him; JK would perhaps have been wary of any financial relationship with his brother after the misunderstanding/disagreement about the loans & Abbey money which occurred when they saw each other last. What I do feel is tragic is that Keats had an unclaimed legacy in Chancery (I believe from his grandfather) which he was unaware of - this would have eased his conflict about whether it would be necessary to find work as an apothecary and his guilt or embarrassment at his friends and publisher having to fund his journey to Italy and doctor's bills there.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Raphael » Mon Feb 13, 2012 3:15 pm

But what would have JK gained from knowing of his brother's later wealth? I can't imagine he would have wanted hand-outs from him; JK would perhaps have been wary of any financial relationship with his brother after the misunderstanding/disagreement about the loans & Abbey money which occurred when they saw each other last.


Possibly, but I would like to think George would have gifted his poet brother some money so he could have kept on writing and married Fanny (if he had lived....)



What I do feel is tragic is that Keats had an unclaimed legacy in Chancery (I believe from his grandfather) which he was unaware of - this would have eased his conflict about whether it would be necessary to find work as an apothecary and his guilt or embarrassment at his friends and publisher having to fund his journey to Italy and doctor's bills there.


This is so sad! I always wonder tho why the idea of tutoring young men/boys in poetry and literature didn't come to him.
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: George Keats in America

Postby BrokenLyre » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:45 pm

Yes Cath, all good points you make. John Keats' money in chancery was actually held up for 60 years before it was finally dealt with. That is indeed tragic as it would have relieved John of "borrowing" from his publisher and the expenses in Rome as you point out. But I cannot help but think that after some years had passed, George would have been glad to hep with some of John's expenses. At least I would like to believe that George would have returned to England to visit John and would have been happy to help him. Would John have received it? Not sure on that one. At any rate, for a number of reasons, money was not readily available for John and I find it ironic that money eventually came to his brother George, but only after John had died.

On another note, according to Lawrence Crutcher (in his book on the George Keats family), Jeffrey, despite his sloppiness sometimes, did preserve some nice letters that would never have seen the light of day. I am sure Jeffrey did not know how famous John Keats would become, and with that in mind, I am surprised he kept any correspondence between the Keats brothers.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Ennis » Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:06 am

BrokenLyre wrote:Yes Cath, all good points you make. John Keats' money in chancery was actually held up for 60 years before it was finally dealt with. That is indeed tragic as it would have relieved John of "borrowing" from his publisher and the expenses in Rome as you point out. But I cannot help but think that after some years had passed, George would have been glad to hep with some of John's expenses. At least I would like to believe that George would have returned to England to visit John and would have been happy to help him. Would John have received it? Not sure on that one. At any rate, for a number of reasons, money was not readily available for John and I find it ironic that money eventually came to his brother George, but only after John had died.

On another note, according to Lawrence Crutcher (in his book on the George Keats family), Jeffrey, despite his sloppiness sometimes, did preserve some nice letters that would never have seen the light of day. I am sure Jeffrey did not know how famous John Keats would become, and with that in mind, I am surprised he kept any correspondence between the Keats brothers.



I read in Gareth Scott's edition of Keats's letters (a recent purchase of mine!) that before he delared bankruptcy, George was somewhat wealthy and paid off the remainder of John's debts. That was very noble of him, since (in my opinion, not to mention that of Chas. Dilke, or was it Brown??), he ripped his brother off during his London visit of January 1820, when one would have had to be blind, not to mention stupid, to see that John was dying, or at least extremely ill. George must have felt a big man sailing back to America with not only his share of Tom's estate, but most of John's share, as well. :evil: Even Fanny was pissed off and for good reason! I suppose William Haslam was most likely a little (if not a lot) annoyed at George's "conniving."
"But if you will fully love me, though there may be some fire, 'twill not be more than we can bear when moistened and bedewed with Pleasures." JK to FB 08.07.1819
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cath » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:22 pm

Raphael wrote: Possibly, but I would like to think George would have gifted his poet brother some money so he could have kept on writing and married Fanny (if he had lived....)


I LOVE the idea that George could have financially enabled Keats to marry Fanny. I don't know whether JK (had he not fallen ill...) could have waited for George to become rich and loan him money to this end, since he was so desperate to be "united" with her, but it's a very pleasant thought.
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