John Keats was an English poet. He published only fifty four poems in three small books and a few magazines but had one of the most remarkable careers as a poet. He used a wide range of poetic forms including odes and sonnets.
Early Life: –
He was born on October 31, 1795 in London, England. His father Thomas Keats died when he was just 9 years old. Initially, he attended a school at Enfield which was run by John Clarke. John Clarke’s son Charles Clarke played an important role in encouraging Keats’ literary aspirations.
In 1810, his mother also died and Richard Abbey was appointed as the guardian for him and his siblings. Abbey was the executor of their maternal grandmother’s estate.
Initial Career: –
John Keats started his apprenticeship with a surgeon at Edmonton in 1811 but broke off in 1814. After that he moved to London and worked as a dresser for some time at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospitals. During this time, he continued his literary interests.
Keats wrote his first mature poem in 1816. It was a sonnet named as ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’. It was inspired by George Chapman’s classic 17th-century translation of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
In March 1817, his first book got published under the name ‘Poems’. His longest poems were Endymion and Hyperion which tell stories from ancient Greek mythology.
Quick Facts: –
- He was an active letter writer for all his life like most other people at that time.
- In 1817 and 1818, he wrote ‘Isabella’ which was an adaptation of the story of the Pot of Basilin Giovanni Boccaccio’s
- After becoming a published poet, John burned all papers containing his earlier works.
- In October 1819, Keats got engaged to Fanny Brawne, his next door neighbor but they could not get married because of Keats’ early death.
- During John’s illness, he could not meet Fanny so they communicated through a glass screen and wrote letters to each other.
- At an early age, he also suffered from chronic anxiety.
- His second volume of poetry was published in July 1820 but by that time he was very ill.
- He only had a poetic career of five years because he died of tuberculosis at a very young age of 25 years.
- He died in Rome on 23 February 1821 and was buried in Rome in a Protestant Cemetery.
- His mother Frances Keats and brother Tom Keats also died of tuberculosis.
Question & Answers: –
Ques. What was the profession of John Keats’ father?
Ans. His father was a livery-stable manager.
Ques. What were the names of John’s brothers?
Ans. George and Tom.
Ques. Where did Keats children spend their childhood?
Ans. At Edmonton, Middlesex.
Ques. How tall was John Keats?
Ans. He was a short man with a height of approximately 5 feet.
Ques. Who was John Keats’ earliest model in poetry?
Ans. At a very young age he was introduced to Edmund Spenser and the Elizabethans and they became his model.
Ques. Did Keats get married?
Ans. No, he got engaged to Fanny Brawne but could not get married because of his serious health condition.
Ques. When did he leave London for a trip to the Isle of Wight and Canterbury?
Ans. In 1817.
Ques. What was his friend Richard Woodhouse’s opinion about him?
Ans. According to Richard Woodhouse, Keats was particularly horrible at reading his own poems not giving them justice.
Ques. From whom did John catch Tuberculosis?
Ans. He nursed his brother Tom through the final stages of tuberculosis and got infected himself.
Ques. What are some of John Keats’ short poems?
Ans. ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ and ‘To Autumn’.
Ques. When did he start working on Hyperion?
Ans. In September 1818.
Ques. How many versions of Hyperion are there?
Ans. There are two versions of Hyperion.
Ques. What revealed the seriousness of Keats’s illness?
Ans. In February 1820 a severe haemorrhage in the lungs revealed the seriousness of the disease.
Ques. Which was the most famous poem in his first book?
Ans. ‘Sleep and Poetry’ is the most famous poem of this volume.
Ques. When did John get engaged to Fanny Brawne?
Ans. In October 1819.
Ques. During what time did Keats compose all of his odes?
Ans. Between March and September 1819.