On October 31st, in 1795, in London, a child was born to Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats. He was baptized John Keats and was the eldest of four. He grew up to become one of the most loved Romantic English poets. He was one of the main figures of the Romantic current, alongside Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Unfortunately his works were poorly received during his life. It was only after his death that his fame grew. By the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most loved English poets of all times.
John Keats had two younger brothers and a younger sister. The children lost their parents early. Their father, Thomas died when the poet was eight years old. Apparently, the cause of death was skull fracture caused by a fall from the horse. Frances Jennings Keats, John’s mother was claimed by tuberculosis six years later. The children remained in the care of their maternal grandmother, Alice Jennings. She appointed two guardians, Richard Abbey and John Sandell, to take care of the children
John Keats went to John Clarke’s school in Enfield until he was fourteen years old. Then, under the guardianship of Abbey and Sandell, he was sent to apprenticeship to a neighbor who was both surgeon and apothecary. Although Keats became a licensed apothecary, he never practiced the profession, preferring to write poems instead.
During his apprenticeship, Keats met Leigh Hunt, the man who introduced him to a literary circle formed of now famous poets like Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth. With the help and influence of the group Keats managed to publish his first volume, “Poems” in 1817. His second work, an allegorical romance called “Endymion” was published the following year. Unfortunately for Keats, “Endymion” met only negative reviews during his life.
In the autumn of 1819 Keats caught tuberculosis, the illness that killed his mother and one of his younger brothers. The next year the poet published what is now considered his best work, the volume “Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems” which also included an unfinished poem called “Hyperion”. His contemporaries considered the poem was John Keats’ greatest work. By that time the poet was much too ill to continue his writing.
He died in February, in 1821, at only 25 years old. Did you know that John Keats had known death was upon him, a year before his demise? In 1820 he refereed to his life as a “posthumous existence.”
( Source: poets.org and biography.com)
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