Friday, November 11, 2011
number 3. romantic women, romantic landscape.
Photo by Andy Sewell, 2011. Please buy his extraordinary book of Heath photos.
I'm wholly absorbed in preparations for my Women & Nature seminar next week, on the parallel stories of Fanny Brawne, Elizabeth Kent, and Hampstead Heath. I've come to see each as a character in my narrative - in an effort to give voice to both Brawne and Kent, who have been given so little attention of their own (Brawne, almost solely in reference to Keats; Kent in reference to Leigh Hunt), I have become obsessed with their lives in this place whose history is so bound up with the men through which we know them. It is impossible to ignore the Heath as the backdrop for their lives - with Keats and Hunt, the Heath is always taken for granted as their landscape, but with both Brawne and Kent, little has been said of their contribution to the Heath's story.
I've nearly finished writing the section on Brawne and hope to have Kent finished by the end of the weekend. Having become fully enraptured by their lives, I must admit I've rarely felt so moved by the objects of my research. Partly because the Heath matters so much to me. And partly because of the difficulties in finding these women's voices amidst so many others.