John Keats was one of the last, great poets of the Romantic Era. He wrote poetry of great sensual beauty and with a unique passion for details. In his lifetime he was not associated with the senior poets who began the movement at the time of the French Revolution. He was unlucky in the respect he didn’t, fit into the older, respected group based on his age, nor in the younger group, for he was neither a lord nor in the upper classes. He was one of the “middle class” poets of the then emerging middle class to gain the attention of a public, which was then very snobbish about class and social status.

Keats was born in London on October 31, 1795. Keats was sent to Enfield School, which had a strongly dissenting and republican culture, where he enjoyed a liberal and enlightened education subsequently reflected in his poetry. His father died when he was eight and his mother when he was fourteen; these sad circumstances drew him particularly close to his two brothers, George and Tom, and his sister Fanny. (Kipperman 246). As an orphan, he became a surgeon’s apprentice before enrolling, in 1815, as a student at Guy’s Hospital. He registered for a sixth-month course of study required for him to become a licensed surgeon and apothecary. Soon after he had came to a conclusion that he was not going to be a doctor as a profession, his true passion was in poetry (computer). Though some of his early poetry which was written when he was twenty just six years before his death, the poetry didn’t seem “top-notch.’’ As his life played out his poetry became more matured and astonishing. Because of his lack of education he spent allot of time studying Shakespeare and Milton. He admired and imitated these two

2 Jordan
writers as reflected in his poetry. His quality of work has often been likened to resemble Shakespeare. (Kipperman 245).

Few English authors have ever, had as much direct observation and experience of suffering as John Keats. Soon after receiving his medical doctrine he returned to London. In medical school he met Leigh Hunt and they began to write The Examiner, which brought the love of poetry out in Keats. His writing career consisted of three books of verse during his lifetime: Poems (1817); Endymion (1818), an ambitious long poem; and Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems in (1820), which considered to be one of the landmark volumes of the nineteenth century, including the great “Odes” and “Hyperion.” With this volume and other late poems Keats achieved his objective that poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one soul, and does not startle. A sensuous richness and precise, detailed imagery characterize his finest work. Keats had the ability to recreate and embody in words the vision or the sound of his subject whether it be the painting on the urn in “Ode on a Grecuan Urn” or the music of a songbird in “Ode to Nightingale” (Moore 10).

Poems his first published work were published in 1817. It attracted some good reviews, but these were followed by the first harsh attacks by the influential Blackwood’s Magazine. In 1818, his brother Tom who had tuberculosis died. Keats took care of Tom and before his death made a promise to his brother that he would show his critics that he

3 Jordan
really was a poet. However Keats didn’t know that he would be diagnosed with tuberculosis the following summer. During 1819, at 23, he wrote “The Eve of Saint Agnes,” “La Belle Dame Sans Merci,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and “To Autumn.” (Kipperman 269). During writing these poems he fell in love with a young women named Fanny Brawne, but he never married her because of his health and financial situation. His worsening illness began to affect his outlook on life.

In the fall of 1820, John Keats left England for his health was failing him and he would not be able to survive another harsh England winter. Joseph Severn, the devoted young painter who, alone in a strange country, nursed Keats and managed his affairs daily until his death, accompanied him. While in Rome, Keats tried to recover peacefully in the