John Keats, a British Romantic poet, was born on October 31, 1795 in London, England. Both of his parents died when he was young. These deaths influenced his writing because they gave him a strong understanding of what it meant to be human and experience suffering.
After his father's death in 1804, his mother quickly remarried and moved the family to her mother's home, but the relationship did not last long. Keats felt a strong sense of responsibility to protect his siblings. It was during this time that art and literature became a big comfort to Keats. His mother died five years after his father's death.
John Clarke, the headmaster at Enfield Academy, where Keats attended school, encouraged his interest in literature. Keats became good friends with Charles Cowden Clarke, the headmaster's son. It was this friend who introduced Keats to Leigh Hunt, who became his first publisher.
John Keats' first poem was published in May 1816 in a magazine. It was then followed by the first volume of poetry, Poems by John Keats, in 1817.
During his lifetime, Keats published three volumes of poetry. It is said that the third, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and
Other Poems, was by far the best. His most productive poetry writing period was between 1818 and 1819.
Keats died from tuberculosis on February 23, 1821, at the young age of 25.
Interesting Facts about John Keats:
- Before pursuing a career in literature, he studied medicine at a London hospital. He became a licensed apothecary, but he never practiced medicine.
- Keats had no formal literacy education.
- His longest poem, "Endynion," is 4,000 lines long, and it's based on the Greek myth. He committed to writing 40 lines per day until the poem was complete.
- Keats received a lot of criticism because his writing style was so bold.
- In 1818, he took a walking tour of Ireland and Scotland.
- Keats' uncle, mother, and brother also died from tuberculosis.
- Keats fell in love with Fanny Brawne while taking care of his ill brother. Unfortunately, the two never married because of Keats' own declining health.