On discovering his death...

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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On discovering his death...

Postby Amberly » Sun Oct 16, 2005 10:48 pm

Hey everyone.. I've just been studying Keats for a short time and so I don't know all that much about his life. Do people still post regularly on here? I have read that Keats discovered that he was going to die at an early age.

At what point in his life, or at what age, did he discover this?

Did he determine his early death himself?

How frequently did he write before he found out that he was going to die early in comparision to afterwards?
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Postby Saturn » Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:46 am

Firstly welcome to the site :D

Secondly, people don't post as regularly as they should do :evil:

Thirdly I believe Keats relaised he had contracted TB about two years before his actual death. On one occassion after a very unhealthy Cab drive in which he stood on the outside he returned home and almost collapsed and not soon after began coughing up blood - which as a trainee doctor he knew was a symptom of TB or consumption as it was then popularly known.

He still continued to write almost as much as before he knew he was dying, but it was only once he left for Rome when his writing completely ceased almost when he was in the full grip of the illness - writing his letters and poems was no longer possible.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Credo Buffa » Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:43 pm

One also gets the sense when reading Keats's poems and letters that he had a very great preoccupation with death. I think he saw so many people he loved lost to untimely death that there was always this shadow hanging over him that he too would die young. I feel like a lot of his life was lived with the aim of trying not to run away from that fear, but conquer it: his choice to train as a surgeon and help the sick and ailing, his desire to be among the great English poets so that a part of him would live on in history. . .
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Postby Saturn » Mon Oct 17, 2005 10:19 pm

Death in the western world was also a lot more prominent in people's lives than perhaps it is even today.

Mortality rates [infant and adult], even in Britain were extremely high and TB was endemic for much of the 19th Century. Add to that the Napoleonic Wars on the continent and you can see why many writers were morbidly preoccupied with death, not only from a personal perspective, but in general.

Death was an everyday companion of people in that age and there were no psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors etc for people to vent their fears and worries onto, therefore poetry was one of the easiest ways of expressing one's feelings on all aspects of life.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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