The recent movie “Bright Star” tells the story of young poet John Keats and his relationship with Fanny Brawne, which lasted three years until his death at age 25. English professor Peter Goldstein talks more about Keats himself:
How has Keats influenced English literature?
He was part of the Romantic Movement, which had enormous influence on English literature, although Keats himself did not leave behind enough of a body of work to leave a major impression alone.
What themes and poetic devices did he create or utilize?
He was most famous for his odes, which he didn’t “invent”, but rather reworked from older forms of verse. As to his themes, they were the standard poet themes: love, death, passion, and poetry itself.
Did his early death affect his legacy?
Well, of course it cut short the amount he had to give- obviously he would’ve continued writing had he lived longer. His poetry gives a sharp depiction of him as a young man — up until his death. Perhaps his writing would have evolved as he got older, we’ll never know.
What did he die of?
And a short film tie-in: the film is about Keats’ relationship cut short by his death. Do you think the Hollywood-ization of his life can still be respectful of the poet and his work?
Sure, however movies are made to make money, so it is foolish to formulate your ideas about Keats solely from the movie. But hopefully it will attract more readers to Keats’ work. In fact, my favorite poem by him is “Bright Star”.
-Joe Aultman-Moore, Juniata Online journalist