John Keats Timeline
How It All Went Down
John Keats Born
John Keats is born near London, the first of five children of stable keeper Thomas Keats and Frances Jennings Keats.
Keats' infant brother Edward dies.
Keats begins his studies at a small school in Enfield, England, run by a man named John Clarke.
Thomas Keats is thrown from a horse and dies of a fractured skull. John's mother, now a widow with four surviving children, remarries later the same year.
Keats' mother abandons the family and disappears for three and a half years, leaving the children with their grandmother. Ten-year-old John suffers from chronic anxiety.
Keats' mother returns to the family, sick with tuberculosis and rheumatism. Keats nurses her.
Frances Jennings Keats dies of tuberculosis, the disease that eventually claims two of her sons. She leaves the children in the care of their grandmother. The grandmother signs over care of the children to a guardian, Richard Abbey, who takes the children's inheritance money for himself.
Abbey pulls Keats from his studies at Enfield and apprentices him to a surgeon in nearby Edmonton. Keats studies at night with Charles Cowden Clarke, a sympathetic administrator at the school who sees his potential.
Starts Medical School
After four years as an apprentice, Keats begins his medical studies at Guy's Hospital in London. Privately, he has started to write poetry.
Becomes Serious About Poetry
Keats meets the poet Leigh Hunt, who encourages him, introduces him to other poets (including Percy Bysshe Shelley) and becomes an important influence on his work.
Keats decides to abandon his medical career for good so that he can focus on his poetry. Richard Abbey is furious and the two have a falling-out.
First Poems Published
Keats' first poetry collection, a volume simply entitled Poems, is published.
Keats embarks on a six-week walking tour of England and Scotland with his friend Charles Armitage Brown. His brother Thomas is ill with tuberculosis, but Keats is assured that he will survive his journey.
Keats completes Endymion, his first major long poem. The poem begins with the immortal line, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."29
Keats' beloved brother Thomas dies of tuberculosis at the age of 19.
Meets Fanny Brawne
After his brother's death, Keats moves in with his friend Charles Brown in the Hampstead neighborhood of London. There, he meets and soon falls in love with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne. By the end of the year, the couple is engaged. This is a year of ups and downs for Keats - he writes many of his best poems, including the famous Odes, but also battles depression and the first symptoms of tuberculosis.
Keats has a lung hemorrhage, the first serious symptom of the tuberculosis that will eventually take his life. When the second one happens a few months later, he moves into Leigh Hunt's house, where Fanny nurses him.
Final Poems Published
Keats' final volume of poetry, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes and Other Poems, is published to strong reviews.
Sails for Italy
Keats' doctor informs him that his lungs will not survive an English winter. Keats bids Fanny Brawne a painful farewell and sails to Italy with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn.
John Keats dies.
John Keats dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25 in Rome. He is buried in the Protestant cemetery. Percy Bysshe Shelley writes the poem Adonais as an elegy for him.