Joseph Severn, A Life: The Rewards of Friendship

Joseph Severn, A Life: The Rewards of Friendship

by Sue Brown
     
 

ISBN-10: 0199565023

ISBN-13: 9780199565023

Pub. Date: 10/25/2009

Publisher: Oxford University Press

This biography of Joseph Severn (1793-1879), the best known but most controversial of Keats's friends, is based on a mass of newly discovered information, much of it still in private hands. Severn accompanied the dying Keats to Italy, nursed him in Rome and reported on his last weeks there in a famous series of moving letters. After Keats's death in relative

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Overview

This biography of Joseph Severn (1793-1879), the best known but most controversial of Keats's friends, is based on a mass of newly discovered information, much of it still in private hands. Severn accompanied the dying Keats to Italy, nursed him in Rome and reported on his last weeks there in a famous series of moving letters. After Keats's death in relative obscurity, Severn pressed hard for an early biography and a more fitting memorial in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.

In the nineteenth century Severn's friendship with Keats was seen as a model of devoted masculine companionship and he was reburied by popular acclaim next to Keats in 1882. In the twentieth century, by contrast, he was denigrated as an unreliable, self-promoting witness. Sue Brown's book fills a major gap in studies of Keats and his circle. It reassesses Severn's character, friendship with Keats, and influence on the posthumous development of the poet's fame and provides new information on Keats's death.

The significance of Severn's artistic career has previously been downplayed. This book offers the first full assessment of his work and of his turbulent spell as British Consul in Rome from 1860 to 1871. Keats was not Severn's only famous friend. For most of his adult life Severn was at the heart of the large, lively British community in Rome welcoming amongst others Gladstone, who became his most important patron, Ruskin, Walter Scott, Wordsworth, Turner, Samuel Palmer, David Wilkie, and many more. He maintained long friendships with Leigh Hunt, Mary Shelley, Charles Eastlake, Richard Monckton Milnes, amongst others, and enjoyed a rich family life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199565023
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/25/2009
Pages:
424
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi

List of Plates|xiii

Abbreviations xiv

Introduction 1

1 A Hazardous Childhood 5

2 The Royal Academy Student 17

3 Painter and Poet 33

4 The Warm South 55

5 Piazza di Spagna 79

6 'Thanks Joe' 95

7 'The Most Striking Year of My Life' 114

8 The RA Pensioner 134

9 'Searching for Fame and Fortune' 153

10 Love, Marriage, and Persecution 170

11 'Everybody's Man and a Very Obliging Creature': Severn in his Roman Prime 189

12 Going Home 211

13 The Passion for Fresco 231

14 The Friend of Keats 249

15 An Interlude in Pimlico 265

16 British Consul 282

17 The New Rome 299

18 Keeper of the Flame 318

Epilogue: A Fitting Place 340

Notes 347

Select Bibliography 392

Index 404

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