On the heels of a renewed global interest in the figure and writing of 19th century British poet John Keats (as attested by Jane Campion’s acclaimed film by the same title), Elido Fazi’s Bright Star retraces the last period of the young poet’s life, as he struggles with financial hardship and family drama. Through a fragmented, non sequential narrative, in line with Keats’ complex style and character, the book brings to life the personality of a man who dared to tackle life’s deepest contradictions.
In this intimate portrait, Keats’ encounters with some of the foremost personalities of his time – Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge – are viewed through the eyes of a man of humble origins, yet imbued with a unique sensibility. In the book, Keats’ struggle to give a literary voice to his powerful vision is intertwined with the tragic fate of the poet’s brothers, and ultimately of Keats himself, struck down by an illness at the age of 26.
In his search for the ultimate meaning of things, even his relationship with Fanny acquired a transcendental importance: a matter non simply of affection, but of spiritual communion. Elido Fazi draws heavily – and liberally – not only on Keats’ poetic production, but also on his ample and humorous correspondence, shedding light on some of the most quirky and least-known details of the poet’s life.
In dedicating his life to a never-ending meditation on concepts which our modern sensibility holds so dear – but which often fell on deaf ears with his contemporaries – such as Good, Beauty and Truth, Keats proved to be a mystical and visionary modern hero, who was centuries ahead of his time, and will be remembered for centuries to come.