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John Keats

Birthplace: Moorgate, London, England UK
Death: February 23, 1821 (25)
Rome, Italy (Tuberculosis)
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Keats and Frances Jennings Keats
Brother of George Keats; Thomas Keats and Frances Mary Llanos

Occupation: Romantic Poet
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Keats

John Keats was born in Finsbury Pavement near London on October 31st, 1795. The first son of a stable-keeper, he had a sister and three brothers, one of whom died in infancy. When John was eight years old, his father was killed in an accident. In the same year his mother married again, but little later separated from her husband and took her family to live with her mother.

John attended a good school where he became well acquainted with ancient and contemporary literature. In 1810 his mother died of consumption, leaving the children to their grandmother who put them under the care of two guardians, to whom she made over a respectable amount of money for the benefit of the orphans. Under the authority of the guardians, John was taken from school to an be apprentice to a surgeon. In 1814, before completion of his apprenticeship, John left his master after a quarrel, becoming a hospital student in London. Under the guidance of his friend Cowden Clarke he devoted himself increasingly to literature. In 1814 Keats finally sacrificed his medical ambitions to a literary life.

He soon got acquainted with celebrated artists of his time, such as Leigh Hunt, Percy B. Shelley and Benjamin Robert Haydon. In May 1816, Hunt helped him publish his first poem in a magazine. A year later Keats published about thirty poems and sonnets printed in the volume "Poems".

After receiving scarce, negative feedback, Keats travelled to the Isle of Wight on his own in spring of 1817. In the late summer he went to Oxford together with a newly-made friend, Benjamin Bailey. In the following winter his brotherGeorge Keats married and emigrated to America, leaving brother Tom to the John's care. Apart from helping Tom against consumption, Keats worked on his poem "Endymion". Just before its publication, he went on a hiking tour to Scotland and Ireland with his friend Charles Brown.

First signs of his own fatal disease forced him to return prematurely, where he found his brother seriously ill and his poem harshly criticised. In December 1818 Tom Keats died. John moved to Hampstead Heath, were he lived in the house of Charles Brown. While in Scotland with Keats, Brown had lent his house to a Mrs Brawne and her sixteen-year-old daughter Fanny. Since the ladies where still living in London, Keats soon made their acquaintance and fell in love with the beautiful, fashionable girl. Absorbed in love and poetry, he exhausted himself mentally, and in autumn of 1819, he tried to gain some distance to literature through an ordinary occupation.

In February 1820 his illness (consumption) broke all his plans for the future, marking the beginning of what he called his "postmumous life". He could not enjoy the positive resonance on the publication of the volume "Lamia, Isabella &c.", including his most celebrated odes. In the late summer of 1820, Keats was ordered by his doctors to avoid the English winter and moved to Italy.

His friend Joseph Severn accompanied him south - first to Naples, and then to Rome. His health improved momentarily, only to collapse finally. Keats died in Rome on the 23rd of February, 1821. He was buried on the Protestant Cemetary, near the grave of Caius Cestius. On his desire, the following lines were engraved on his tombstone: "Here lies one whose name was writ in water."

  • NAME: John Keats
  • GENDER: Male
  • BAPTISM DATE: 18 Dec 1795
  • BAPTISM PLACE: St Botolph Bishopsgate,London,London,England
  • FATHER: Thomas
  • MOTHER: Frances
  • FHL FILM NUMBER: 380144

Source Information

  • England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014.
  • Original data: England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975. Salt Lake City, Utah: FamilySearch, 2013

References and Sources

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John Keats's Timeline

October 31, 1795
London, England UK
February 23, 1821
Age 25
London, England UK