on 11 March 2010
I found myself very moved reading these letters- Fanny Brawne was a young lady of great courage, intelligence and maturity for one so young. The tenderly written letters to the lonely Miss Keats show her compassionate nature. By reading these letters we see at last, how deeply she loved the dying John Keats. Whilst he is Rome hoping to recover, the caring and courageous Miss Brawne, knowing she will never see her "dear John" alive again, seeks at every turn to bring comfort to the poet's younger sister and loves her as though she were her own sister.
Her letters also reveal her character, her thoughts and interests- which are wide and varied. She shows that she was an interesting and often witty young lady who was worthy of the poet's attentions.
Biographers have in the past misrepresented Miss Brawne, stating that she wasn't really in love with him (but merely flirting with him) and that she was unaware of his genius. Her letters show otherwise- often heart renderingly so. In one letter she tells Miss Keats that if she is to lose him she loses "everything." She declares to Miss Keats that John was destined for "everything great" and laments the cruelty of a world in which he is dying at only twenty five.
This collection of letters are an essential part of any Keatsian library- after reading John Keats's love letters to Miss Brawne, then reading these letters written by her to his sister one can get a deeper sense of their life together, how and why they connected. They are a cherished part of my collection in my Keatsian library.