Monday, 5 May 2014

5 May in Literature

5 May 1816, John Keats first published poem appeared in The Examiner. 


Keat's life is a sad story. When he was eight when his father died and 15 when his mother died. He and his siblings grew up with their maternal grandparents who died when he was 19. The Keats children were cheated from their inheritance by an unscrupulous guardian and lived much in poverty all their lives. Keats was interested in literature and became friends with the editor of The Examiner, Leigh Hunt, who himself was a successful poet and author and introduced Keats in his literary circles, which included Percy Bysshe Shelley. Keats didn't write his first poem until 18, but showed great promise and he was encouraged by Hunt and his circle. In 1817 his first book, Poems, was published.

Keats love in life was Fanny Brawne. They were engaged, but Keats financial situation made it impossible for them to marry. In 1819 Keats produced a lot of his famous work. In 1820 he realised he had tuberculosis. He travelled to Italy, hoping that the climate would ease his condition but it did not help. He
died in February 1821, only 25 years old.

His work often received criticism during his lifetime, but his reputation grew after his death. His poetry is characterised by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. Today his poems and letters are some of the most popular and most analysed in English literature.


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