John Keats

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The famous English Romantic poet, John Keats was born in 1795, in London. He lost both his parents early in life and was brought up by two London merchants. He studied medicine and although he became a licensed apothecary-surgeon in 1816, he never practiced but instead devoted his time to writing poetry. Keats met Leigh Hunt who, as editor of The Examiner, published his sonnets, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’ and ‘O Solitude’. He also introduced him to a circle of writers, including Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth. Through the influence of this prominent group of literary men, Keats was able to publish is first volume in 1817, Poems by John Keats.

Keats published Endymion, a 4000 line erotic/allegorical romance based on the Greek story Endymion in 1818. However he was attacked by many critical magazines. He met Fanny Brawne at this time, and fell in love.

Keats wrote some of his finest poetry between 1818-1819 and worked mainly on Hyperion. His brother had died from tuberculosis, and he contracted the disease. Feeling death was upon him he published his third volume of poetry Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and Other Poems. This volume drew much praise, and in particular the poem Hyperion was considered by his contemporaries as a great achievement. He died soon after in 1821 at the age of 25.

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