John Keats - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about John Keats

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

Recommended links
Picture of John Keats, poet; nineteenth century British Literature / English Literature and poetry
portrait of John Keats by William Hilton, after Joseph Severn (National Portrait Gallery, London).
John Keats   (1795 - 1821)
Category:  English Literature
Born:  October 31, 1795
Moorfields, London, England
Died:  February 23, 1821
Rome, Italy
Related authors:
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Robert Burns
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1/20/304     Keats, St. Agnes, Marriage
This is the Eve of St. Agnes, on which young virgins obedient to various bedtime rituals -- having eaten only a salt-filled egg, or having put sprigs of thyme and rosemary in their shoes -- are granted a vision of their future lovers. In "The Eve of St. Agnes," Keats has Porphyro get a peek at his Madeline by hiding in her bedroom; Keats himself said that most women were children "to whom I would rather give a sugar plum than my time."
7/11/1818     Keats, Burns and the Gatekeeper
On this day in 1818, John Keats visited Robert Burns's first home in Alloway, and wrote his sonnet, "Written in the Cottage Where Burns Was Born." Keats was twenty-two years old, barely published, and on a summer-long walking tour of the North Country -- twenty or thirty rugged miles a day and "No supper but Eggs and Oat cake," which corrects the wan-and-weary side of the Keats myth.
9/23/1819     John Keats, Autumn
On this day in 1819, twenty-five-year-old John Keats wrote to his friend, Charles Brown, to say that he was giving up poetry for journalism. This is also the first day of autumn; four days earlier in 1819 Keats had written "To Autumn," now one of his most popular poems, and one which many critics regard as "flawless in structure, texture, tone, and rhythm."
10/31/1820     Irving, Burns and Keats on Halloween
On this storied day or hallowed eve are based many spirit-world tales; some are of horror, such as Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"; some are of love, or thereabouts, such as Robert Burns's "Halloween." Among the "principal charms and spells of that night," says Burns, are those which might have the lasses "come to the marriage-bed anything but a maid. . . ."
12/1/1821     Tortured Romantics
On this day in 1821 Percy Shelley's "Adonais," his elegy to John Keats, was published in England. A cornerstone of both Romantic poetry and the myth of the Romantic, the poem paints Keats as Adonis in pursuit of Beauty and Truth, brought down by those less noble and talented. This was a fate Shelley (left) predicted for himself, and he died before Keats's gravestone had been erected.
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Realms of Gold: The Letters and Poems of Jehn Keats
by John Keats, Samuel West (Reader), Matthew Marsh (Reader)
audio CD
Selected Letters of John Keats
by John Keats, Grant F. Scott (Editor)
The Complete Poems of John Keats
anthology, poetry
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Keats, Narrative and Audience : The Posthumous Life of Writing
by Andrew Bennett
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Academy of American Poetry - John Keats
Keats biography, poetry, bibliography, and links. Selected poems include "Bright Star," "La Belle Dame Sans Merci," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," "This Living Hand," and "To Autumn."

"Shelley, who was fond of Keats, had advised him to develop a more substantial body of work before publishing it. Keats, who was not as fond of Shelley, did not follow his advice. Endymion, a four-thousand-line erotic/allegorical romance based on the Greek myth of the same name, appeared the following year. Two of the most influential critical magazines of the time, the Quarterly Review and Blackwood's Magazine, attacked the collection. Calling the romantic verse of Hunt's literary circle 'the Cockney school of poetry,' Blackwood's declared Endymion to be nonsense and recommended that Keats give up poetry."
John Keats: a comprehensive study of his life and work
Features a detailed biography, bibliography, chronology of life events, images of Keats and original manuscripts, literary criticism and analysis, and poems including "Endymion," "Hyperion," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," and "When I have fears that I may cease to be." Notes and letters on Keats's illness and journal to Rome, love affair with Fanny Brawne, and strained relations with Lord Byron are also provided.

"Keats's passing created a rift amongst his friends. As his fame as a poet grew, they told competing stories of his life and often exaggerated their influence upon his work. It became commonplace to view Keats as a tragic soul, too sensitive for this world and driven from it by harsh critical reviews. Keats himself would have been furious at such a description. Rarely has a poet so thoroughly captured life in all its natural glory, without affectation or exaggeration. And rarely, too, has a man lived such an admirable and passionate life."
Features an extensive 1887 biography and analysis of Keats' poetry by Sir Sidney Colvin, discussion forums, and letters to John Hamilton Reynolds, Fanny Keats, Leigh Hunt, Jane Reynolds, Percy B. Shelley, and others. The website also features the highly critical reviews of Endymion published in the Quarterly Review and Blackwood's Magazine, and the protests by Keats' advocates J. H. Reynolds and John Scott:

"Had the genius of Lord Byron sunk under the discouraging sneers of an Edinburgh Review the nineteenth century would scarcely yet have been termed the Augustan aera of Poetry. Let Mr Keats too persevere- he has talents of no common stamp; this is the hastily written tribute of a stranger, who ventures to predict that Mr K. is capable of producing a poem that shall challenge the admiration of every reader of true taste and feeling...."
-- John Scott
The British Library
Features selections from a 1996 exhibit including photographs of original manuscripts, audio recordings of "When I have fears that I may cease to be" and "Nightingale (Erithacus megarhynchos)," and commentary on the poet's life and legacy.

"The first full-length biography of Keats, Richard Monckton Milnes's Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats, appeared in 1848. After years of controversy, during which Keats's work had been alternately savagely criticised and extravagantly praised, and then shamefully neglected, it confirmed his position among the greatest English poets."
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February 23, 2018
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