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Bright Star: The Complete Poems & Selected Letters of John Keats (Vintage Classics)
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Bright Star: The Complete Poems & Selected Letters of John Keats (Vintage Classics)

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4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  1,515 ratings  ·  150 reviews
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DIRECTOR JANE CAMPION





John Keats died in penury and relative obscurity in 1821, aged only 25. He is now seen as one of the greatest English poets and a genius of the Romantic age. This collection, which contains all his most memorable works and a selection of his letters, is a feast for the senses, displaying Keats' gift for gorgeous imagery and sens...more
Paperback, 526 pages
Published October 29th 2009 by Vintage Classics (first published September 2nd 2009)
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Dolors
Jun 30, 2013 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone in need of beauty and sadness
Recommended to Dolors by: Cristina
”Let me have another opportunity of years before me and I will not die without being remember’d” pleads John Keats in one of the thirty-seven surviving love letters he sent to his “angel”, Fanny Brawne. It was some months before his partying to Italy, where he was sent following his doctor’s advice as the last chance to survive a long, strenuous illness. He was supposed to benefit from the milder winter there. He would never return to England, dying in Rome at the premature age of twenty-five an...more
K.D. Absolutely
The movie is better than the book. Much better.

Normally, it is the book is better than the movie and a friend commented during our book club's Christmas party last month that this line should not be uttered anymore. It is always the case (especially for us readers). However, in my mind, there are exceptions like Tolkien's LOTR and Mario Puzo's The Godfather. And this book joins the two.

Well, in fairness, the book is not a novel but just a compilation of letters that English romantic poet John Ke...more
Christopher H.
Oct 29, 2009 Christopher H. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christopher by: lonebearimages@gmail.com
While I own the Penguin Classics edition of "The Complete Poems of John Keats," this is a marvelous compilation of the beautiful letters that John Keats wrote to Fanny Brawne, the young woman that he fell head-over-heels in love with in the last years of his short life. These letters provide such a beautiful window into the heart and soul of one of mankind's greatest poets. Ms. Jane Campion, the director of the recently released film about Keats's love affair with Fanny Brawne, has collected Kea...more
Cristiane Serruya
Apr 08, 2013 Cristiane Serruya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every romantic
Recommended to Cristiane by: Dolors Casas gifted it to me!
Shelves: classics
I have to start saying that this book is not a novel but a compilation of letters that John Keats, the English romantic poet, wrote to her girlfriend Fanny Brawne during the last four years of his life. It also has the poems that he composed during their relationship including the last one he wrote.
It's absolutely romantic. It makes me wonder what we have lost due to modern times and long for men who could write beautifully like Keats did for Brawne. It's both touching and beautiful.
If you are l...more
Diana Lynn
Very romantic...it's insane to think that there actually were men who wrote poetry like this to women at one time or another. The first half of the book (The letters to Fanny) were both touching and beautiful. The second half which were the best of his poems was wonderful as well, however I had to re-read most of it and look up a lot of the words since it is written in old English. The movie was very well done as well and Jane Champion gives a little intro in this book which helps to put things...more
Maria
Perfect and imperfect. Proof that love never dies. This is the most romantic love story I've ever read...and probably will ever read in my lifetime. Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth and Darcy,Tristan and Isolde, Barbie and Ken...amateurs.
"When Fanny was told of Keat's Death, the effect on her was terrible. The Twenty-year-old cut her hair short and spent three years in widows black, roaming the paths on the Heath where she and Keats had walked together."

"Is there another life?...There must be, we c...more
Anya
Feb 16, 2010 Anya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Iryna
I picked this book after I saw the movie and I was absolutely stunned by the beauty, sincerity and poetry of these letters. They are intense and heartbreaking. I couldn't believe they were written 200 years ago...
I loved poems as well, although I wish there were more.
Michela
Vorrei essere fra le tue braccia colmo di fiducia, o che un fulmine mi colpisse.

Ogni volta che ho tra le mani le lettere o i diari di qualche scrittore mi sento un po' come se stessi spiando dal buco della serratura la vita degli altri.
Leggere le lettere, i sogni privati di qualcun altro è una delle forme più brutte di voyeurismo, però non se ne può fare a meno. Almeno per me, perché in questo modo riesco a farmi un'idea più concreta dell'uomo o della donna dietro lo scrittore.
Ma potrei sbaglia...more
Blake
Divided into two diverse parts between the love letters and the poems, this is Keats in love and inspired. It is also more poignantly a vision of Keats slowly fading and with the final letters he disappears from the world.

Out of this devotion comes a portrait of Fanny Brawne, whose presence, rather than ghostly and ethereal, stands instead of looming as a kind of grounded substance and whose, so grounded, being contrasts strangely and almost unromantically with the more lifted imagination of Kea...more
SarahC
This is a companion book to the Jane Campion-directed film Bright Star about John Keats and Fanny Brawne. It is first a collection of letters written from Keats to Brawne and it ends with a selection of his poetry. The letters are absolutely wonderful love letters-- beautiful, simple, captivating. They are mostly written during the illness that would end his life, so of course they are poignant, but moreso they are simply beautiful love letters. This volume truly shows the complete unity of the...more
Patricia (Patricia's Particularity)
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Stil
...more
Taymara Jagmohan
Have you ever written a billet-doux? ; )


The lippy, ill and coronary young man, Keats, is the pure example of a champion that gets jealous, loves tenderly in rich sentimentality, and allows his words to be in frequency with his heart. It is amazing how humans joggle the counter parts of loving someone, and earning a living in the extremities of reality. Do you think it is possible to love truly, and live in reality (earning a living)? It is difficult to be in love, and focus on something else. Wh...more
Rikke
"For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair."

Bright and delicate may just be the two perfect words to describe this book. With his bare words, Keats creates pictures that are so vividly beautiful and hurtful, that they cast an excruciatingly bright light over feelings such as love, desperation, jealousy, torment and desire. As a glittering firework the words of Keats unfold with such a power and magnanimity tha...more
Sherri
I have to give this 5 stars because, well, it's Keats. Except for a short introduction it's all Keats, his letters to Fanny Brawne and a selection of his poems.

Most of these letters are little more than notes, short missives to his beloved. Considering his health, which he often alluded to, she was probably lucky to receive as many as she did. None of Fanny's letters to Keats is included since he was buried with many of them. He does refer to her notes and how he treasures them though frankly I...more
Jamie
I hate to admit it, but before I saw the film "Bright Star" in October of 2009, I knew next to nothing about John Keats. I knew he was an english poet, and that he was mentioned in a Natasha Bedingfield song, but that was pretty much the extent of it. I was entirely taken off guard when I saw this film, and began what has now, I think I can safely say, become a love affair with his life and poetry. The letters in this volume are what strike me the most. As I read them, I felt as if I were someho...more
Jack
I wasn’t sure whether to write a “review” of his love letters and poems. Like all love letters, they are meant as personal correspondences, private to the lovers themselves. They are not meant for any outside audiences, and their content isn’t for me to judge.

Yet, as I read though some of the included poetry, I noticed that it coincided much with much of his own feelings written in his love letters. Not surprising perhaps, that he would use some of his own experiences in his poetry.A number of t...more
Abbyjay
I feel like the poems and letters made a fairly visible and hard to watch/hard to look away from transition between thoughtful and romantic to frantic, paranoid, obsessive and overwhelming. Particularly the last two letters and two poems were almost begging fanny never to look or love anyone else and the very last poem seemed to me like he was saying he was going to haunt her from the grave. God this was so captivating.
The poems are wonderful as always but the letters are the true gems, at the...more
Pearl
Only picked this book up because I wanted to familiarize my self with more poetry, as I will have to write a piece of poetry in one of my assessments this semester. I watched the movie when it first came out and enjoyed it, but never read the letters it was based off of until now.

Needless to say, I don't get poetry and it doesn't get me. But good lord, it is beautiful. Especially Keat's letters to Fanny. In the past two decades of reading, I have never read anything so beautiful. It makes you wa...more
Laura
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brandonne
If Keats's poetry is sublime, his letters to Fanny Brawne are heady perfection. He writes, "My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you," and laments, "I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days–three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain." Dramatic professions, yes, but written with such fluid sincerity, I felt that I could happily drown in them.
Priya

Without a doubt John Keats is the best romantic poet ever and my favorite too. He did not just write his poems; he had experienced each one. What is more painful is that he died without knowing what he's capable of.

All his letters and poems are Simple and Heart touching. I would recommend this book to all romance lovers. A must read.
Carol
Beautiful letters written by a very sick Keats to Fanny Brawne, in addition to poems he wrote. A first love for both of them. Tragically Keats died at the age of 25 from tuberculosis.

Looking forward to seeing the film based on this love story directed by Jane Campion (The Piano).
Anna Christina
You've got to love Keats' poetry. I mean, come on...he is classic. This book, however was not so interesting in my opinion. I wish they had found Fanny Brawne's reciprocal letters...That would have made the book much more enjoyable.
Brian
lord byron writes my favorite poetry. but john keats is my favorite poet.

this book gives us a dreadfully honest insight into keats' own heart. candid, frank, and beautiful.. but you can find out for yourself.
Aavis
How do we know which ones of the many things and possibilities surrounding us are worth pursuing? Which causes are worth dying for? Worth LIVING for?
Who of all people is a person we might need to know?

How many different roads there is to take?


I have never before read John Keats. But now that I have, I'm not sure what he was and how it happens that it's his words that are best remembered, cherished and celebrated to this day instead of somebody else's.

How his love letters are the ones still defin...more
Tiziana
This is the perfect companion book to the film "Bright Star", which dramatises the relationship of Romantic poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, his love and muse. In fact, this book includes an introduction by Jane Campion, the film's director; an introduction that serves as a brief account of the story of these two and is also a synopsis of the film.

To most strong-willed and strong-minded people, Keats' letters and notes may seem whiny and rhetoric, over-written (I think that one cannot expect an...more
Debbie Robson
Of course, I've long known about Keats and the Romantic Poets but hadn't (until reading this slim volume) realised what an original mind he has. For me this is more evident in the letters than the poetry. Here is a marvellouse example:
"We might spend a pleasant year at Berne or Zurich - if it should please Venus to hear my 'Beseech thee to hear us O Goddess.' And if she should hear, God forbid we should what people call, settle - turn into a pond, a stagnant Lethe - a vile crescent, row or build...more
Bird
Some of the letters contained in this slim book were so beautiful, I annoyed my husband my insisting I read portions out loud to him. Two of my favorites:

"I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain." (p4)

"I will imagine you Venus tonight and pray, pray, pray to your star like a Heathen." (p11)

That said, Mr. Keats was an overly emotional, whiny, brooding mess. He spends a gr...more
S'hi
As a poet I found Jane Campion’s movie Bright Star disappointing. The scenery was rich, the relationships uplifting, but the repetitive lines from one poem felt to me like a jingle across this world of beauty.
There it is. I have admitted it.
Now I pick up the companion volume, as so many movies now have, and read Jane Campion’s introduction. Her feeling and the way she was drawn into Keats’ life and story seem so out of place to what I experienced in the theatre. I consider whether this was reall...more
Lucy Allen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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John Keats was one of the principal poets of the English Romantic movement. During his short life, his work received constant critical attacks from the periodicals of the day, but his posthumous influence on poets such as Alfred Tennyson has been immense. Elaborate word choice and sensual imagery characterize Keats's poetry, including a series of odes that were his masterpieces and which remain am...more
More about John Keats...
The Complete Poems Selected Poetry Complete Poems and Selected Letters Letters of John Keats John Keats: The Major Works: Including Endymion, the Odes and Selected Letters

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“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” 1352 likes
“My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.” 151 likes
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