Beauty is perhaps transient – but some things are indeed permanent

John_keats_death_mask

I’ve loved John Keats ever since I’ve been aware of his existence.  When I was at school, to supplement the textbook we were given on Keats’ poetry, I bought myself a book full of his letters, many written to his true love & next door neighbour Fanny Brawne.

I enjoyed reading his poems, but it was the letters to Fanny and to his brother George in America that really caught my imagination.

Years later, I lingered in his house at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome.  He lived there with his friend the artist Joseph Severn in the latter days of his life, only 25 years old & dying from consumption.  He could no longer go out, but observed life in Rome passing him by through the window by his bed that looks straight out onto the Steps.

How lucky we are to have language and writing to express ourselves to each other and how amazing is it that we have the legacy of those that have gone before us to read at our leisure.

 

 

5 comments

  1. The largest collection of the letters, manuscripts, and other papers of Keats is in the Houghton Library at Harvard University.

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  2. The largest collection of the letters, manuscripts, and other papers of Keats is in the Houghton Library at Harvard University. – what can I say?

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  3. Grrr said it hadn’t posted. No but there’s a lot about the Shelleys in this part of the world:Fiction writer Mary Shelley is best known for her novel Frankenstein.But, before she died on February 1 1851, one of her last requests was to be buried in Bournemouth, even though she had never lived in the town.Her wish was fulfilled – as was her request for her already deceased parents to be re-buried with her.But the family plot in St Peter’s Church also includes something perhaps more unusual – the remains of Shelley’s husband’s heart. http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/dorset/hi/people_and_places/history/newsid_849700…Used to work opposite St Peter’s

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  4. Yeah – I remember reading about how Shelley’s heart didn’t burn when they burned his body on the beach in Italy – or maybe I saw it in Ken Russell’s crazy film “Gothic”…

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