We read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the Author.' (John Keats to J.H. Reynolds, Teignmouth May 1818)
John Keats is one of Britain’s best-known and most-loved poets. Despite dying in Rome in 1821, at the age of just 25, his poems continue to inspire generations who reinterpret and reinvent the ways in which we consume his work.
Apart from his long association with Hampstead, North London, he has not previously been known as a poet of ‘place’ in the way we associate Wordsworth with the Lake District, for example, and for many years readers considered Keats’s work remote from political and social context. Yet Keats was acutely aware of and influenced by his surroundings: Hampstead; Guy’s Hospital in London where he trained as a doctor; Teignmouth where he nursed his brother Tom; a walking tour of the Lake District and Scotland; the Isle of Wight; the area around Chichester and in Winchester, where his last great ode, To Autumn, was composed.
Far from the frail Romantic stereotype, Keats captivated people with his vitality and strength of character. He was also deeply interested in the life around him, commenting in his many letters and his poetry on historic events and the relationship between wealth and poverty. What impact did the places he visited have on him and how have those areas changed over two centuries? How do they celebrate their ‘Keats connection?'
Suzie Grogan takes the reader on a journey through Keats’s life and landscapes, introducing us to his best and most influential work. In many ways a personal journey following a lifetime of study, the reader is offered opportunities to reflect on the impact of poetry and landscape on all our lives. The book is aimed at anyone wanting to know more about the places Keats visited, the times he lived through and the influences they may have had on his poetry. Utilizing primary sources such as Keats’s letters to friends and family and the very latest biographical and academic work, it offers an accessible way to see Keats through the lens of the places he visited and aims to spark a lasting interest in the real Keats — the poet and the man.