John Keats Biography

John Keats Biography

John Keats was marked by death. His father died when Keats was nine, his mother died when he was fifteen, his younger brother died, and then Keats himself died of tuberculosis at twenty-six. And yet John Keats, in those short troubled years of his life, wrote poetry that continues to dazzle readers and scholars of today. During his last year, which Keats referred to as his posthumous (after death) life, he wrote poems focused on the topic of death and decay. He also created a philosophy, which he called Negative Capability, which might have arisen because of the prominence of death in his life. Keats believed that nothing could be resolved and that mystery had to be accepted. Two of his greatest poems are “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci.”

Facts and Trivia

  • Keats was far from a big man in physical stature. He stood barely five feet tall.
  • Keats was a surgeon before he was a poet.
  • Keats was engaged to be married to Fanny Brawne. The relationship broke apart suddenly without explanation, but not before the correspondence between Keats and his betrothed was leaked to the public and caused quite a scandal for their sexuality. Before Keats died, he ordered that the letters be burned.
  • Keats wrote poetry for only five of his twenty-six years. His greatest poems were all written between his twenty-third and twenty-fourth years.
  • Although the famed poet T. S. Eliot found little merit in Keats’ work, Eliot did pronounce Keats’ letters the best any poet has ever written.
Additional Content
  • Biography (History of the World: The 19th Century)
  • Biography (British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)
  • Biography (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)
  • Biography (Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)
  • Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)
  • Biography

(The entire section is 5962 words.)