John Keats was one of the greatest poets of the Romantic Era. He wrote poetry of great sensual beauty and had a unique passion for details. In his lifetime he was not recognized with the senior poets. He didn’t receive the respect he deserved. He didn’t fit into the respected group because of his age, nor in the younger group because he was neither a lord nor in the upper class. He was in the middle class and at that time people were treated differently because of their social status.
John Keats was born in London on October 31, 1795. He was educated at Clarke’s School in Enfield. He enjoyed a liberal education that mainly reflected on his poetry. His father died when he was eight and his mother died when he was fourteen. After his mother died, his maternal grandmother granted two London merchants, John Rowland Sandell and Richard Abbey, guardianship. Abbey played a major roll in the development of Keats, as Sandell only played a minor one. These circumstances drew him extremely close to his two brothers, George and Tom, and his sister Fanny. When he 15, Abbey removed him from the Clarke School, as he became an apothecary-surgeon’s apprentice. Then in 1815, he became a student at Guy’s Hospital. He registered for a six- month course to become a licensed surgeon. Soon after he decided he was going to be a doctor he realized his true passion was in poetry. So he decided he would try to excel in poetry also. His poetry that he wrote six years before his death was not very good. As his life progressed his poetry became more mature and amazing. He looked up to Shakespeare and Milton. He studied a lot of there poetry and imitated these two writers. His work resembled Shakespeare. Soon after medical school, he returned to London and met Leigh Hunt. They began to write the Examiner, which was love poetry. In his lifetime he published three books of verse: Poems (1817), Endymion (1818), Lamia Isabella and other poems including two famous poems “Odes” and “Hyperion.” Hunt then introduced him to a circle of literary men, including Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth. These men influenced him to create his first volume of verses, called Poems by John Keats. Shelly persisted that he needed to develop a stronger body of work before publishing. Keats was not fond of Shelley and did not take his advice, but ironically Shelley was very fond of Keats and they were later compared to be very similar.
Keats died at age twenty- six. He became too ill and was unable to finish “The Fall of Hyperion.” He died of turberculosis, just as his mother did, before the poem could be completed. Most believe that if he had lived a full life and not died at age twenty- six he would have been equal to Shakespeare, because of his beauty and creativity.