“A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy For Ever”: The Myth Of John Keats And His Portrayal In Bright Star

“A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy For Ever”: The Myth Of John Keats And His Portrayal In Bright Star

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When adapting a work of literature into a film, the filmmaker takes into consideration what that specific piece of literature conveys in terms of motif and attempts to portray that aesthetic value onto the screen. Jane Campion’s Bright Star is an adaptation of John Keats’ letters and poems to Fanny Brawne. Her film is a faithful adaptation in which it captures the emotional aspects of these pieces of literature and physically displays them on the screen in a manner that represents the subtext of the literature it is based on. The difficulties of adapting these letters and poems arises from the one-sided perspective that only reveals some insight into how John Keats felt. Campion’s take on the tragic love affair doesn’t play from Keats’ point of view, where she had accounts into his thoughts, instead, Campion decides to tell the story of Bright Star from Fanny Brawne’s perspective allowing her to manipulate the story by creatively filling in the gaps. In order to do this, Campion uses John Keats’ letters and poems as a backdrop to base her screenplay on, as well as using the numerous resources available about Keats’ history in a manner that may not be true in the absolute sense but in a way that is faithful to the story of these two lovers.
Crafting a film based on letters and poems is the most interesting aspect of the process of making Bright Star. Campion had the challenge of not only trying to find ways to input the letters and poetry into the film but also had to create the scenes that inspired Keats to write these pieces. The plight of uncertainty that shrouds the accurate telling of history was not a factor when Campion wrote the screenplay as she borrowed from Keats’ idea of “negative capability” in which Keats stated th...


... middle of paper ...


...ce left by John Keats, Campion manages to tell the story of a brief moment in Fanny Brawne’s life as well as being faithful to Keats’ writings.



Works Cited

Bright Star. Dir. Jane Campion. Perf. Abbie Cornish, Ben Whishaw, Paul Schneider. Sony Pictures, 2009. DVD.
Keats, John. Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne. New York: Penguin Books, 2009. Print.
Keats, John. “To George and Thomas Keats.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature Eighth Edition. Ed. Alfred David, et al. New York: Norton & Company, 2006. 942-943. Print.
Motion, Andrew. Keats: a biography. University of Chicago Press ed. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1999. Print.
Tobias, Scott. "Jane Campion | Film | Interview | The A.V. Club ." The A.V. Club . N.p., 22 Sept. 2009. Web. 28 Feb. 2011. .

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