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Romance & Romantics

Narrative structure

Jane Campion's interpretation of the relationship between Keats and Fanny Brawne provides the narrative structure for Bright Star.  What we see onscreen is a romance conducted within the confines of a class-bound society: Keats, having little money, could not marry Fanny whom he loved. 

In the clip on this page we see the divisions between Keats and Fanny played out visually: like the lovers in Ode on a Grecian Urn, 'forever panting and forever young', their engagement remained unfulfilled. Keats' illness, his journey to Italy in an attempt to improve his health and his subsequent death at the age of twenty-five parted the lovers permanently. The last time Fanny saw Keats he was leaving for Italy; in her diary, she wrote simply 'Mr Keats left Hampstead'.


  1. What do you understand by the term 'romance'?
  2. What importance do you think society places on this concept today?
  3. Do you think the perception, and meaning, of romance has changed over time?

Bright Star clip: through the wall

View Transcript


Medium close-up two-shot of a dark-haired young man and woman inclining their heads towards each other, their gazes cast down