George Keats in America

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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Cybele » Sat Mar 03, 2012 5:33 pm

Ennis wrote:
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."


George did pay off John's debts -- at least to Brown, if not the money borrowed from Taylor & Hessey and others.
I cut George some slack over the misunderstanding over the money George took back with him to Kentucky.
Why?
1. Mitigating circumstances: George was desperate, or else he would not have crossed the Atlantic at the time of year. (January -- in a wooden boat? At best this would have been a cold and uncomfortable trip. IMO, anybody making that trip at that time of year was risking his life.)
2. I read (and darnit -- can't remember where!) that the Keats brothers held their money in common as a family unit. George may well have felt his needs at that time were the greater and more urgent.
3. While John was probably feeling ill during George's visit, he seems not to have voiced any concern to George over his health. He probably had a good idea about what was wrong (Hadn't he seen all stages of consumption up close and in person countless times?) but he had not yet suffered that hemorrhage that confirmed his worst fears. If George *had noticed* that John was not feeling well (He did note that John was a "changed man."), he may have, in his typically optimistic way, attributed this to one of John's moods or to his merely having a stubborn cold, or something. Sometimes people only see what they want to see.
4. John seems not to have mentioned anything about Fanny & his hopes to marry to George.

No, as John said, George ought not to have taken the money with him, but I believe George was ignorant of John's actual circumstances. He may have seen John's arrangement in living quarters as proof that John was doing OK.

One thing that has persistently puzzled me: I do not think he visited Fanny Keats while he was in London. The poor girl was practically a prisoner. George got on better with R. Abbey than either of the other Keats brothers. Why wouldn't he have asked Abbey for a loan? Why wouldn't he have visited his little sister? What was going on there? (Am I missing something?)
Last edited by Cybele on Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: George Keats in America

Postby Raphael » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:42 pm

I feel sorry for Fanny Keats stuck with that obnoxious Abbey
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 Raphael » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:46 pm

Cath wrote:
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.



I think John probably knew deep down he hadn't long for the world and thought there was no point mentioning Fanny to George as he wasn't going to be around to marry her and he probably wanted George not to worry about his older poetic brother dying on the other side of the Atlantic. We all know how noble John Keats was.
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 Ennis » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:35 pm

Raphael wrote:
Cath wrote:
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.



I think John probably knew deep down he hadn't long for the world and thought there was no point mentioning Fanny to George as he wasn't going to be around to marry her and he probably wanted George not to worry about his older poetic brother dying on the other side of the Atlantic. We all know how noble John Keats was.


Despite the "arguments" in favour of George, I still don't like him. And according to Gittings (whom I suspect some Keatsians who post here don't "trust") states (pg. 361), "Like all semi-secret arrangements, the situation was probably better-known to friends than has been thought, and their verdict on it was not encouraging." (As we all know. . . .) But, anyway, when Keats saw George that last time, he was still living with Brown, so of course one would assume he was doing okay for himself. I don't know how one could think that when it was well-known his poetry wasn't selling enough to support the poorest of life-styles. Now if he was living in the rooms located by Hunt in Kentish Town, well, that'd be different. Also, he was in the later stages of consumption, so surely it wouldn't take a brain-dead individual to see one's brother is terribly ill: George left on the 21st of January and that first near-fatal hemmorhage, as we all know, was just two weeks later! In her letters to Fanny Keats (especially the one dated 23rd May 1821), Fanny B. says many things, both positive and negative, about George, but one things stands out to me: ". . . By that time (George's arrival in London) your brother wished to marry himself, but he could not refuse the money. It may appear very bad in George to leave him (John) 60 pounds when he owed 80." Boy, what a considerate brother -- my comment, obviously. To me, it neither disproves or proves Keats told George; we all know George knew Fanny. Then, in a moment of generosity, Fanny B. continues, "George could not forsee his illness (I'm sure she means the outcome: Keats certainly could not have looked well and healthy 2 weeks before that ghastly hemmorhage, which we know from his words, didn't fool him: "That drop of blood is my death warrant."). But then she does a semi- turn around: "He might be a cause of the dreadful consequence but surely a very indirect and accidental one. At the same time I cannot defend him, lately his behaviour has been very selfish and I may say shuffling. As to his returning the money I don't believe he has ever had it in his power to return a farthing or ever will. . . . If when I write again I think of any thing for or against him (George) I shall mention it --- For I wish at any rate to put you on your guard --- I have said I think him selfish--and I am affraid whenever you have your money in your own power you will find him troublesome but my dear girl be very cautious--be warned by what has already happened--and remember he is extravagant at least every one says so. . . ."
Pretty harsh words to write to George's sister. We can certainly assume Fanny B. was (extremely)biased, for obvious reasons, but always trust a woman's intuition (even one in love, or especially because so! :wink: ). But also: ". . . at least ever one says so.")
"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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