John Keats (1795-1821)
John Keats is always remembered in the English Literature as one of the most important and famous Romantic writers and poets.
His most famous quote is “beauty is truth, and truth is beauty”, whereas one of his most famous works is surely “Ode to a Grecian urn”.
Keats’s life was not happy. In fact it was marked by family tragedies, hopeless love affairs and he died at a very young age. All these events therefore marked his poetry too.
His father had married his master’s daughter and they had had four children.
When his father died, her mother married another man, but she soon left him and went to live alone with her children. Not much time afterwards she died because of tuberculosis.
At school Keats immediately showed a big love for the antiquity and the classical world.
Once he grew adult, he studied to become a surgeon, but then he gave up his career and started writing his works.
His love for antiquities - shown when he was just a boy - went on. He also went to see, for example, the famous “Elgin Marbles”, the sculptures brought to England by Lord Elgin from the Acropolis.
Sometime later John Keats managed to publish his first works with the help of a friend.
After that, he went to visit Liverpool, Scotland and Northern England, but there, tired of his trip and above all because of the bad conditions in which he travelled, he caught tuberculosis, but fortunately he recovered.
When he came back to London, he came to know that one brother of his was ill, so he stayed with him to look after him until he died.
During that period Keats was strongly ridiculed by his literary opponents and that was quite shocking for him. But he answered to all the attacks with great wit, in fact after that he started writing a second work: “Hyperion”.
After Hyperion, he fell in love with Fanny Brawne, and for her he wrote the best poems and love letters of the English Literature. They unfortunately couldn’t ever get married because of Keats’s bad health and economic problems.
That was, however, a period of great creativity for him.
After some years, though, his lungs problems became serious and, looking for a better climate for his health, he decided to go to Italy. He died there, at the age of 25 years old.
He was buried in Rome. On his gravestone he claimed that only this sentence had to be written: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water”.