Friday 28th April 2017

When I have fears that I may cease to be

John Keats 1818

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love;–then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

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Bright Star

Bright Star is a 2009 British-French-Australian biographical fiction romantic drama film based on the last three years of the life of poet John Keats and his romantic relationship with Fanny Brawne. It stars Ben Whishaw as Keats and Abbie Cornish as Fanny. It was directed by Jane Campion, who wrote the screenplay inspired by Andrew Motion’s biography of Keats; Motion served as a script consultant on the film. The film was in the main competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, and was first shown to the public on 15 May 2009.The film’s title is a reference to a sonnet by Keats titled “Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art”, which he wrote while he was with Brawne.

In 1818 Hampstead, the fashionable Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) is introduced to poet John Keats (Ben Whishaw) through the Dilke family. The Dilkes occupy one half of a double house, with Charles Brown (Paul Schneider)—Keats’ friend, roommate, and associate in writing—occupying the other half.

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Though Fanny’s flirtatious personality contrasts with Keats’ notably more aloof nature, she begins to pursue him after she has her siblings, Samuel and Toots, obtain his book of poetry “Endymion”. Her efforts to interact with the poet are fruitless until he witnesses her grief for the loss of his brother, Tom. While spending Christmas with the Brawne family, Keats begins to open up to Fanny’s advances. Keats begins to give poetry lessons to Fanny, and it becomes apparent that their attraction is mutual. Fanny is nevertheless troubled by Keats’ reluctance to pursue her, for which her mother (Kerry Fox) surmises, “Mr Keats knows he cannot like you, he has no living and no income.”

It is only after Fanny receives a valentine from Brown that Keats passionately confronts them and asks if they are lovers. Brown, who sent the valentine in jest, warns Keats that Fanny is a mere flirt playing a game. Fanny, hurt by Brown’s accusations and by Keats’ lack of faith in her, ends their lessons and leaves. It is not until after the Dilkes move to Westminster that spring, leaving the Brawne family their half of the house and six months rent, that Fanny and Keats resume their interaction and fall deeply in love. The relationship comes to an abrupt end when Brown departs with Keats for his summer rental, where Keats may earn some money. Though Fanny is heartbroken, she is comforted by Keats’ love letters. When the men return in the autumn, Fanny’s mother voices her concern that Fanny’s attachment to the poet will hinder her from being courted. Fanny and Keats secretly become engaged.

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Keats contracts tuberculosis the following winter. He spends several weeks recovering until spring. His friends collect funds so that he may spend the next winter in Italy, where the climate is warmer. After impregnating a maid, Brown is unable to accompany Keats. Keats manages to find residence in London for the summer, but he is taken in by the Brawne family following an attack of his illness. When his book sells with moderate success, Fanny’s mother gives Keats her blessing to marry Fanny once he returns from Italy. The night before he leaves, he and Fanny say their tearful goodbyes in privacy. Keats dies in Italy the following February of complications from his illness, just as his brother Tom did earlier in the film.

In the last moments of the film Fanny cuts her hair in an act of mourning, dons black attire, and walks the snowy paths outside that Keats had walked many times in life. It is there that she recites the love sonnet he had written for her, “Bright Star”, as she grieves the death of her lover.

Fanny Brawne

Frances (Fanny) Brawne Lindon (9 August 1800 – 4 December 1865) is best known for her betrothal to English Romantic poet John Keats, a fact largely unknown until 1878, when Keats’s letters to her were published. Their engagement, lasting from December 1818 until Keats’s death in February 1821, spanned some of the most poetically productive years of his life.

Frances (known as Fanny) Brawne was born 9 August 1800 to Samuel and Frances at the Brawnes’ farm near the hamlet of West End, close to Hampstead, England.
She was the eldest of three surviving children; her brother Samuel was born July 1804, and her sister Margaret was born April 1809 (John and Jane, two other siblings, died in infancy). By 1810, her family was in Kentish Town, and on 11 April of that year her father died, at age thirty-five, of consumption. Subsequently, Mrs. Brawne moved the family to Hampstead Heath.

It was in 1818 that the Brawnes went to Wentworth Place—“a block of two houses, white-stuccoed and semi-detached, built three years before by Charles Armitage Brown and Charles Wentworth Dilke”—for the summer, occupying Brown’s half of the property. Fanny was introduced to a society which was “varied and attractive; young officers from the Peninsular Wars, perhaps from Waterloo… exotic French and Spanish émigrés …from their lodgings round Oriel House in Church Row and the chapel in Holly Place.” After living at Wentworth Place for a brief time the Brawnes became friends with the Dilkes.

At eighteen, Fanny Brawne “was small, her eyes were blue and often enhanced by blue ribbons in her brown hair; her mouth expressed determination and a sense of humour and her smile was disarming. She was not conventionally beautiful: her nose was a little too aquiline, her face too pale and thin (some called it sallow). But she knew the value of elegance; velvet hats and muslin bonnets, crêpe hats with argus feathers, straw hats embellished with grapes and tartan ribbons: Fanny noticed them all as they came from Paris. She could answer, at a moment’s notice, any question on historical costume. … Fanny enjoyed music. … She was an eager politician, fiery in discussion; she was a voluminous reader. … Indeed, books were her favourite topic of conversation”.

It was through the Dilkes that Fanny Brawne met John Keats in November 1818 at Wentworth Place, where Keats had been living for some time with Charles Brown in the companion house to the Dilkes’. Their initial meeting was cordial and expected—the Dilkes were fond of Keats and spoke of him to the Brawnes often.[ Fanny enjoyed his company, recalling that “his conversation was in the highest degree interesting and his spirits good, excepting at moments when anxiety regarding his brother’s health dejected them”; On 1 December 1818, Keats’ younger brother Tom died of tuberculosis, at age nineteen. Keats’s grief was deep, as “Some years before, Keats had written that his love for his brothers was “an affection ‘passing the Love of Women’” … Fanny showed him the depth of her understanding. She gave him invigorating sympathy, keeping his mind from the past and from introspection; she encouraged his love of life by her obvious interest in him, and by her vivacity. Remarkably soon his own gaiety returned.
In a letter begun 16 December 1818 to his brother George, in America, Keats mentions Fanny in two separate passages. The first: “Mrs. Brawn who took Brown’s house for the summer still resides in Hampstead. She is a very nice woman and her daughter senior is I think beautiful, elegant, graceful, silly, fashionable and strange. We have a little tiff now and then—and she behaves a little better, or I must have sheered off” ; the second: “—Shall I give you Miss Brawn[e]? She is about my height—with a fine style of countenance of the lengthen’d sort—she wants sentiment in every feature—she manages to make her hair look well—her nostrills are fine—though a little painful—he[r] mouth is bad and good—he[r] Profil is better than her full-face which indeed is not full [b]ut pale and thin without showing any bone—Her shape is very graceful and so are her movements—her Arms are good her hands badish—her feet tolerable—she is not seventeen—but she is ignorant—monstrous in her behaviour flying out in all directions, calling people such names—that I was forced lately to make use of the term Minx—this is I think no[t] from any innate vice but from a penchant she has for acting stylishly. I am however tired of such style and shall decline any more of it”

It was not long before Keats fell completely in love with Fanny. “He had transfigured Fanny in his imagination, his passion creating in her the beauty which for him became the truth; and so she had come to be… the fulfilment of Endymion, the very symbol of beauty, the reconciliation between real life and his poetic quest.” On 18 October 1819, Keats proposed to Fanny Brawne, who accepted. Though a significant event in their lives, they did their best to keep it secret. Fanny’s mother would not be so welcoming of the engagement: Keats had given up a career in medicine to pursue poetry, which, at this point in his life, did not seem to have great prospects. His family had been stricken with illness, and he was unable to sustain himself financially. Her mother did not outright forbid the marriage, but she withheld her legal consent until such time as there was financial stability to match the couple’s emotional bond.

Keats, by February, was at Wentworth Place, where Fanny visited him frequently and occasionally met his friends, one of whom was Joseph Severn. However, “as Keats could not dance and was too unwell to take her out himself, she went to parties with army officers. Through the Dilkes and her mother’s wide circle of friends she received many invitations,” which caused Keats significant anxiety. This constant presence—which he did not dislike—distracted him from poetry; and although he had in May what is regarded as some of the most productive time of his poetic life, he left for the Isle of Wight in June. Over the next months Fanny and Keats carried on an emotional, anxious, and somewhat jealous correspondence; he wrote of love and death, and in between letters he wrote and revised poems. He returned to Wentworth Place in 1819, physically and emotionally unwell.

In early February 1820, Keats went to London and “returned late, cold and feverish. He staggered so badly that Brown thought him drunk. As he got into bed he coughed slightly, and seeing a single drop of blood upon the sheet said to Brown, ‘I know the colour of that blood;—it is arterial blood … that drop of blood is my death warrant.’ Later that night, a large lung haemorrhage followed that almost suffocated him. All he could think of was Fanny.” Fanny seldom visited Keats in person over the next month for fear of his delicate health giving out, but occasionally would pass by his window after walks, and the two often wrote notes to each other.

In May 1820 Keats decided to leave for Kentish Town; and, over the next months, the two continued an emotional correspondence. Doctors had urged him to relocate to Italy for recovery, as another English winter would most likely prove deadly. He returned, for the last time, to Wentworth Place on 10 August 1820.

Even the imminence of his leaving for Italy (which was to happen in a month’s time) did not move Fanny’s mother to grant her consent to their marriage. She did, however, promise that “when Keats returned he should marry Fanny and live with them.” On 11 September 1820, Fanny wrote Keats’s farewell to his sister, also named Frances; and “with [Fanny’s] consent he destroyed the letters she had sent him.” Before leaving, they exchanged gifts: “perhaps at parting, he offered her his copy of The Cenci and the treasured facsimile of the folio Shakespeare in which he had written his comments and the sonnet on King Lear. He gave her an Etruscan lamp and his miniature, the perfect likeness which Severn had painted of him… Fanny gave him a new pocket-book, a paper-knife, and a lock of her hair, taking one of his own in exchange. She lined his travelling cap with silk, keeping some material in remembrance. She gave him, too, a final token, an oval white cornelian.” [24] Stanley Plumly writes that this good-bye, on 13 September 1820, was “the most problematic… the equivalent, in Keats’s mind, of leaving life and entering what he will now call, in earnest, his posthumous existence.”

On 1 December 1820 Brown received a letter from Keats, which he read to the Brawnes, “skipping & adding, without the slightest suspicion on their part,” telling Fanny that if Keats’s spirit improved, Severn expected an early recovery”;
this illusion was sustained, and all of the worst news was kept from Fanny. On 17 February John Taylor, one of Keats’s social circle, received a letter from Severn detailing Keats’s suffering; “The doctor said that he should never have left England, for even then he had been incurable; the journey had shortened his life and increased his pain. … Severn had tried to comfort him with thoughts of spring. It was the season Keats loved best, and he would not know it again. Bitterly he wept. “He kept continually in his hand a polished, oval, white cornelian, the gift of his widowing love, and at times it seemed his only consolation, the only thing left him in this world clearly tangible.”” Fanny wrote to Frances Keats on 26 February, “All I do is to persuade myself, I shall never see him again.” “Late on Saturday, March 17, the news reached Wentworth Place. On Friday, February 23, a little before midnight, Keats had died in Severn’s arms.”

Fanny Brawne cut her hair short, donned black clothing, and wore the ring Keats had given her. “A letter from Severn to Taylor reached Hampstead about April 16, and Fanny learned how the Italian health authorities had burned the furniture in Keats’s room, scraped the walls and made new windows and doors and floor. She read of the post mortem and the funeral near the monument of Caius Cestius and how Dr. Clark had made the men plant daisies on the grave, saying that Keats would have wished it. Unknown to her family, slowly and with great pain she copied the account of his last days; she did not seal it because his sister might want to read it but she could not read it again.”Fanny felt that the only person with whom she could fully share her grief was Frances Keats and the two carried on correspondence that lasted quite some time. In autumn 1821 Fanny visited the young Keats in Walthamstow, where she was in the care of the Abbeys and the two revelled in each other’s company. Their constant communication allowed them to develop a close friendship. Eventually Fanny shared with “Keats’s sister a little of the literary companionship which she had once known with him.” Two years after the death of Keats, Fanny began learning Italian and translating short stories from the German, eventually publishing them in various magazines.
Frances Keats, having come of age around this time, left the Abbeys and went to live with the Brawnes, where she was warmly welcomed.

Fanny came out of mourning in 1827, six years after Keats’ death.
She rejoined society and donned brighter, gayer clothing again. This post-mourning period was to be short-lived; her younger brother Samuel, then twenty-three, had been showing signs of consumption. Samuel grew increasingly ill, and on 28 March 1828 he died.
Fanny’s mother, who never fully recovered from Samuel’s death, made her will in October 1829. On 23 November 1829, Mrs. Brawne died, some days after her dress caught fire as she led a guest across their garden by candlelight.

Around 1833, the Brawnes went to reside with family (the Bakers) in Boulogne.
It was here that Fanny met Louis Lindon; and, on 15 June 1833, more than twelve years after Keats’ death, they married. On 26 July 1834, Fanny’s first son, Edmund, was born; and on 22 May 1838 her second son Herbert was born. On 10 August 1844, her only daughter Margaret was born, in Heidelberg, where they had gone to live.
It was there, she met Thomas Medwin, who was a cousin and biographer of Percy Bysshe Shelley and the writer of a controversial recollection of Lord Byron. Fanny collaborated with him to correct the impression, provided by Mary Shelley in her Essays, Letters from Abroad, Translations and Fragments (1840), that Keats had gone insane in his final days. Lindon showed letters to Medwin that suggested otherwise, and Medwin used this new knowledge in his Life of Shelley (1847), where he published extracts from these letters by Keats himself and his friend Joseph Severn.

In 1859, after many years abroad, the Lindons (as they had started calling themselves) returned to England.
Financial troubles towards the end of her life led Fanny to sell her miniature of Keats to Charles Dilke. In the autumn of 1865, Fanny told her children about her time with Keats and entrusted to them the relics from that romance, including the letters Keats had written to her, which she said would “someday be considered of value.”

On 4 December 1865, Fanny Brawne died and was buried the next day in Brompton Cemetery.

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Life

Life is a American science fiction horror film directed by Daniel Espinosa, written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds. The film follows a six-member crew of the International Space Station that uncovers what initially seems to be the first evidence of life on Mars; however, the crew finds their discovery might not be what it seems.

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The six-member International Space Station (ISS) crew capture a probe returning from Mars with a soil sample that might contain evidence of extraterrestrial life. Exobiologist Hugh Derry revives a dormant cell from the sample, and it quickly grows into a multi-celled organism that American school children name “Calvin”. After an atmospheric accident in the lab, Calvin becomes dormant. Hugh revives Calvin with mild electric shocks, but Calvin immediately becomes hostile and attacks Hugh, crushing his hand. While Calvin devours a lab rat and grows in size, engineer Rory Adams enters the room and rescues Hugh. However, Calvin latches onto Rory’s leg and Physician David Jordan locks Rory in the room to keep Calvin contained. After Rory unsuccessfully attacks Calvin with a flame thrower Calvin enters his mouth, killing him from the inside. Emerging from Rory’s mouth even larger, Calvin escapes through a vent. Hugh theorizes that lack of breathable air on Mars is what kept the organism dormant.

Finding their communication with Earth cut off, mission commander Katerina Golovkina performs a space walk to fix the antenna. Calvin attacks her outside the ISS rupturing her spacesuit’s coolant system in the process, causing liquid to fill her helmet. She refuses to open the airlock to seek help, keeping Calvin out of the station but causing her to drown in her spacesuit.

Calvin attempts to enter the station through the thrusters. The crew try to use the thrusters to launch Calvin into deep space, but their attempt fails and the station loses too much fuel. The ISS enters a decaying orbit, which will eventually cause the station to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Pilot Sho Murakami informs the crew that they need to use the remaining fuel to get back into a safe orbit, but the attempt would allow Calvin back into the station. The crew plan to make Calvin dormant by sealing themselves into one module and venting the atmosphere from the rest of the station.

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When Hugh enters cardiac arrest, the crew realize that Calvin had attached itself to Hugh’s leg and was feeding off of him. Having grown into a larger tentacled creature, Calvin attacks the remainder of the crew. Sho seals himself inside a sleeping pod as Calvin attempts to crack the glass and get to him. David and quarantine officer Miranda North use Hugh’s corpse as bait to lure Calvin away from Sho and trap it in a module to deprive it of oxygen.

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Having received a distress call prior to the damage to the ISS communication system, Earth sends a Soyuz capsule as a fail-safe plan to push the station into deep space. The capsule docks with the station and starts pushing it into deep space. Believing this to be a rescue, Sho leaves his pod and rushes to board the arriving ship, attempting to force open the capsule’s hatch. Once he opens the hatch, Calvin attacks him and the Soyuz crew. The crew tries to save Sho, but the encounter causes a docking breach that results in the capsule detaching and crashing into the ISS. David and Miranda, the only survivors, realize that the incident has again caused them to enter a decaying orbit. Aware that Calvin could survive re-entry, David recalls two escape pods, planning to lure Calvin into one pod and pilot it into deep space, allowing Miranda to escape to Earth in the other pod.

David leads Calvin into his pod and launches into space as Miranda launches hers. One of the pods hits debris and is knocked off course. Calvin attacks David as he struggles to send his pod into deep space. The earthbound pod performs a controlled re-entry and lands in water near two fishermen. As they approach the pod, it is revealed to be David’s, who is encased in a web-like substance. Meanwhile, Miranda’s navigation system fails and her pod is sent into deep space. David, still alive, tries to warn the fishermen not to attempt a rescue. The fishermen open the pod door as two other fishing boats arrive.

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