Keats and Charles Brown

I went through some of Keats’ other poems in The Norton Anthology and found one titled “This living hand, now warm and capable”, which I thought was a very passionate and haunting poem (it’s on page 1013).

In the footnote, the editor notes that this short poem might have eventually come to be a part of the satire that Keats was writing when he died. This satire was called The Jealousies. In researching this satire, I learned a bit about a man who was one of Keats’ closest friends during his lifetime: Charles Armitage Brown. (We already saw his name when reading Keats’ letters, as Keats’ last letter ever written was to him.) Brown advised Keats many times and helped him a great deal while he was unwell toward the end of his life (according to the Wikipedia article on Brown). He also wrote a memoir about Keats’ life and collaborated with him on a play that wasn’t actually staged until after both of them had passed. It was interesting to learn a bit more about one of Keats’ friends, though I know we have also talked about a number of other people in his life, including Fanny Brawne.

I also found a quote about Brown and Keats from this website (

“Excellent friend as Brown was to Keats, he was not the most judicious adviser in matters of literature, and the attempt made in the [The Jealousies] to mingle with the strain of fairy fancy a strain of worldly flippancy and satire was one essentially alien to Keats’s nature.”

I think that this was a funny quote in how it depicted Keats’ attempts to write this satire, but it also emphasized Keats’ young age during his career and how he was still improving his abilities and honing his craft, to a certain degree. It seems that Keats’ attempt to write this satire is a testament to the breadth that Keats aspired to in his work; he did not limit himself to a certain genre. I think Brown’s role in Keats’ life as an advisor made me consider what poetry Keats might have written if he had lived for longer, which we discussed a bit last class (the idea of genius and the people who possess it often having short lives).

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