What impact did John Keats have on the Romantic era?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

While it was difficult for Keats to have as much of an impact on Romanticism as someone like Wordsworth, he did have a great impact on the movement as a whole.  Thinkers like Percy Shelley immediately associated Keats with the Romantic thinker and the Romantic figure.  The purely subjective voice, the desire for art to transcend one's state of being in the world, and the notion of finding one's voice in a world where it is so often lost all fed into the persona of Keats.  To add to this, his death at such a young age almost tragically defined Romanticism as one where could only hope to "gather ye rosebuds while ye may."  Keats' desire to create an aesthetic in his art was so compelling and so much of a driving force that critics and successors to Romanticism identified him with it in both life and work.  As time has come to pass, Keats might not have defined the movement within its time period, but certainly played a role in how it has come to be seen.