CAMPION’S BRIGHT STAR. We loved Jane Campion’s Bright Star. Fanny Brawne has, I think, suffered the same kind of unjust scorn from scholars that Anne Hathaway has. It seems that there is an expectation that a spouse or lover should be in some way comparable to Keats and Shakespeare, and, of course, any lady must seem unworthy of such genius. I have the opposite prejudgment: a woman who holds the interest of a Keats or a Shakespeare must have been remarkable in her own right. And Fanny Brawne was involved in Keats’s poetry. Christopher Ricks in the New York Review of Books (December 17, 2009) says: “Keats’s sonnet ‘Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art’ was transcribed by Fanny Brawne in the copy of Cary’s translation of Dante that Keats had given her. This gives us grounds for trusting that ‘Bright star!’ is about her (not, manifestly, to her in one sense of ‘to,’ since ‘thou’ is the star, and the poem speaks of ‘her’).”

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