John Keats 1795-1821
John Keats was born in London, the son of a livery stable manager and the eldest of four children. After his father's death when John was nine, the family moved to his maternal grandmother's home in Edmonton where his mother died in 1810. Keats was educated at Clarke's school in Enfield where he excelled in sports and classics.
Following his mother's death, however, he had to leave and became apprenticed to a surgeon-apothecary at Enfield. Encouraged to continue his literary studies by his older friend the son of his former headmaster, Charles Bowden Clarke, he began to write poetry whilst continuing his profession in which qualified as an apothecary in 1816, abandoning it in favour of poetry soon afterwards.
Keats' short life was marred by many personal tragedies: the suffering and death of close relatives, unrequited love, jealous attacks by rivals on his art, and his own poor health. The pain and anguish caused by these is a source of inspiration for him, however, and the genius of his later works combines passion and stoicism with classical scholarship and vivid imagery. He died of tuberculosis in Rome at the age of twenty-five on a trip to repair his health.
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