Contents Index

John Keats

John Keats, 1795-1821, English poet.

In spite of some time at school at Enfield, Keats received little formal education. In 1811 he was apprenticed to a surgeon at Edmonton, and in 1815 became a medical student in the hospitals of London. But his interest in medicine was unequal to his fondness for poetry.

Keats's friend, Leigh Hunt, introduced him to a number of important poets, including Percy Bysshe Shelley. In 1816, Hunt published Keats's first sonnets (including "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer") in the Examiner, and encouraged the publication of his first volume of verse, Poems, in the following year. Endymion followed in 1818. The volume was poorly reviewed; in the preface to Adonais, Shelley later singled out the Quarterly Review as contributing to the decline in spirits that led to Keats's death.

In 1820 appeared Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and and Other Poems, which contained many of his most famous poems: beside those enumerated in the title, it included the first version of "Hyperion," "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Ode to a Nightingale," "To Autumn," "On Melancholy," and "Ode to Psyche."

Keats died of consumption in February 1821 in Rome.