John Keats - a brief biography

Thumbnail sketch of the great Romantic-era poet

portrait of poet Keats with head resing in hand, thoughtful
From the portrait of John Keats
by William Hilton
  John Keats was born in London in October 1795 and was schooled at Enfield College. By the age of 15 he had lost both his parents.

●  In 1811 he began formal medical studies and was apprenticed to a well-known surgeon. He became a licensed apothercary in 1816 - but shortly after, abandoned medicine in order to focus his energies on writing – his first poems having appeared a couple of years prior to this, and already published.

●  The dreadful scourge of tuberculosis had claimed the life of his mother, and in 1818 Keats now had to care for his brother, Tom, who was dying of the same disease.
  Also in 1818, following the death of his brother, Keats met the love of his life, the 18-year-old Fanny Brawne – a relationship that was to prove crucial in his own creative output. They became engaged in 1819. Some of his best-known and best-loved poems were produced at this time.

●  By 1820, with little commercial success for his work, and with increasing financial difficulties that prevented his marriage taking place, Keats began to show symptoms of the disease that had carried off so many of those closest to him and he became very ill with TB.

●  By 1821, and in the company of a close friend, he had already moved to Italy in search of a recovery, but he was to die in Rome, in February of that year at the age of just 25 - in many ways the very epitome of the young and tragically doomed Romantic poet.
Regency period man seated on edge of wood, listening
Portrait of Keats listening to a Nightingale on Hampstead Heath by Joseph Severn
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Historical Novel
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Victorian Gothic
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