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Relationship Information, Quotes, and Trivia
Where and/or how did Fanny Brawne and John Keats meet?
They met in London.
Why did Fanny Brawne and John Keats break up?
Tuberculosis took hold and he was advised to move to a warmer country by his doctors. In September 1820 they had their final parting. Keats left for Rome and they both knew it was very likely they'd never see each other again. He died there five months later.
Other Relationship Information about Fanny Brawne and John Keats:
Letters and poem drafts suggest that Keats first met Frances (Fanny) Brawne between September and November 1818. It is likely that the 18 year old Brawne was visiting the Dilke family at Wentworth Place, before she lived there. Like Keats, Brawne was a Londoner, born in the hamlet of West End near Hampstead on 9 August 1800. Her grandfather had kept a London inn, as Keats's father had done, and had also lost several members of her family to tuberculosis. She shared her first name with both Keats's sister and mother. Fanny had a talent for dress-making, as well as for languages and repartee. She wrote, "I am not a great poetry reader" but that she had "a natural theatrical bent". During November 1818 an intimacy sprang up between Keats and Brawne but was very much shadowed by the impending death of Tom Keats, whom John was nursing.
On 3 April 1819, Brawne and her widowed mother moved into the other half of Dilke's Wentworth Place and Keats and Brawne were able to see each other every day. Keats began to lend Brawne books, such as Dante's Inferno, and they would read together. He gave her the love sonnet, Bright Star (perhaps revised for her). It was a work in progress and he continued to work on the poem until the last months of his life. The poem came to be forever associated with their relationship. "It was", says Gittings, "a declaration of his love. [...] All his desires were concentrated on Fanny". From this point we have no documented mention of Isabella Jones again.
Sometime before the end of June, he at last arrived at some sort of understanding with Brawne. This was far from a formal engagement; he still had far too little to offer. Keats endured great conflict knowing his expectations as a struggling poet in increasingly hard financial straits would preclude marriage to Brawne. Their love remained unconsummated; jealousy for his unbound 'Star' began to gnaw at him. Darkness, disease and depression were close in around him and are reflected in poems of the time such as The Eve of St. Agnes and La Belle Dame sans Merci where love and death both stalk. "I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks" he wrote to her "your loveliness and the hour of my death". Keats writes to Brawne in another of his many hundreds of notes and letters.
None of Brawne's letters to Keats survive, though we have his own letters. As the poet had requested, Brawne's were destroyed upon his death. She stayed in mourning for Keats for six years. In 1833, more than 12 years after his death, she married and went on to have three children, outliving Keats by more than 40 years.
Classic Quotes by Fanny Brawne and John Keats about their relationship:
My love has made me selfish. I cannot exist without you, I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again, my Life seems to stop there, I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving, I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. [...] I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion, I have shudder'd at it, I shudder no more, I could be martyr'd for my Religion, Love is my religion, I could die for that, I could die for you. John Keats 10/13/1819