Keats

john-keats

See below for my other pages on John Keats and his work

Brief Biography of Keats: 1795-1821

Poet of the English Romantic Movement.

In 1818, Keats met, fell in love with, and became engaged to eighteen year old Frances “Fanny” Brawne (1800-1865). While their relationship inspired much spiritual development for Keats, it also proved to be tempestuous, filled with the highs and lows from jealousy and infatuation of first love. After suffering a haemorrhage he gave Fanny permission to break their engagement but she would hear nothing of it and provided much comfort to Keats in his last days.

At the beginning of 1820 Keats started to show severe signs of the deadly tuberculosis that had killed his mother and brother.  Despite these, he organised the publication of his next volume of poetry, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820).  La Belle Dame sans Merci was published posthumously.

He enjoyed a blissful month under the constant care of his beloved Fanny before a desperate attempt at recovery in the warm climes of Italy. As a parting gift Fanny gave him a piece of marble which she had often clasped to cool her hand.

By early 1821 he was confined to bed, He constantly clasped Fanny’s piece of marble during bouts of coughing, fever and nightmares, before dying on 23 February 1821 in Rome.

His epitaph reads “Here lies one whose name was writ in water”, inspired by the line “all your better deeds, Shall be in water writ” from Francis Beaumont (1584-1616) and John Fletcher’s (1579-1625) five act play Love Lies A-bleeding.

Adapted from: biography written by C. D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2007.

My other pages on Keats:

Lamia part 1: annotated text

Lamia part 2: annotated text

Worksheet on ‘Lamia’ critical aspects

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

The Eve of St Agnes: critical views

Other useful sites:

‘The Challenge of Keats (Bicentenary Essays’ 1795-1995) is a collection of essays on the nature of romanticism, interpretation and contextual exploration of Keats’ works.

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