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  • John Keats – The Greatest Romantic of All Time?

    John Keats, I am not sure why but he has always struck me as being somewhat old, but of course he was never old, he died at the tender age of twenty-five. I don’t know why I think that way, whether it be his worldly views or his whole of the moon visions or perhaps the way the legion of Romantics exalt him so. He was a Londoner, born in 1795 to a tavern owner, remarkably the tavern still stands, nowadays trading as Keats at the Globe. Life wasn’t easy for the young Keats, both his parents died before he was ten, he was removed from his education and apprenticed to a surgeon. However, he continued an absorption in literature that had developed during his early schooling, spending huge amounts of time writing a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. But he still did not envision himself as a poet, never actually writing a single line until he was eighteen. Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene was to change all that, awakening Keats and stirring up the literary beast inside of him. Spencer’s parallel universe enthralled him, as did the Spenserian stanza, the allegorical genius and the symbolic words – all of it was to enchant the little surgeon, he would never be the same again. He began to seek out those who had gone before, Shakespeare and Chaucer becoming great heroes of his. Keats was hooked, he abandoned all intention of pursuing a medical career, he immersed himself in the literary world and in 1817 he published his first book of poetry entitled Poems. It didn’t light up the world, it sold poorly and was savaged by the critics.

    Undaunted, Keats embarked on a road-trip, writing parts of what was to be his renowned Endymion, the solitude and the focus suited Keats, complete immersion and concentration in his work bringing out the very best in him. The trip also had the effect of introducing him to many new acquaintances, one of which was Benjamin Bailey, whom he went to stay in Oxford with and who had a great influence on his work. Bailey lauded over Keats’ talent, encouraging the young writer’s endeavours. His time at Oxford allowed him to think more deeply about his poetry, study other poets and refine his own style. However, on his return to London he was to become completely distracted by his brother’s dire illness. In 1818, he toured the Lake District and Scotland with Charles Brown, once again away from all distractions, he raised his work to a new level. But upon his return to London the problems that he faced were mountainous – his brother’s illness, continued criticism of his work and all the distractions of the city. In addition, Keats’ own health was in decline and he was falling in love, it appeared that the work would be put on the backburner. Fortunately, it was not to be the case, sure there were throwaway love songs but he also composed his wondrous and eternally beautiful Odes. The boy had arrived, he would now forever be remembered as a great poet. Tragically, Keats would not live much longer, he contracted tuberculosis in early 1820, he himself dwelt on no false pretence, he realised that it was the beginning of the end. Poignantly, the world had begun to sit up and take notice of Keats’ genius, he was triumphing whilst dying. A last ditch attempt was hatched to improve his health, with a trip to Italy and it’s warm climate being arranged in late 1820. He was accompanied on the journey by his friend the artist Anthony Severn. Unfortunately, his health continued to decline and the writer that many thought would one day emulate Shakespeare died in Rome in February 1821.  

    Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland. Article source Russell Shortt, http://www.exploringireland.net/escorted-tours-page.html http://www.visitscotlandtours.com/tours/escorted-tours.html

  • John Singer Sargent Acualeras Watercolour


    John Singer Sargent Acualeras Watercolour

  • Polarity Therapy Bodywork – John Chitty


    A brief introduction to Polarity Therapy bodywork. For more information, visit the resources section of www.energyschool.com

  • Sandstead — Art Attack — John Singer Sargent Madame X


    Hey, I found this on line. What a treat! The host discusses one of my favorite paintings!

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