John Keats

Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes and Other Poems
  • Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes and Other Poems

  • In the summer of 1820, Keats published this collection, his third and final volume of poetry. A few months earlier, he had started coughing up blood; the following February, he would die of tuberculosis in Rome, aged just twenty-five. This volume contains his greatest work, written in an astonishing burst of creative genius in 1819. It includes 'Lamia', his tale of love and betrayal in ancient Corinth; the haunting medieval romance of 'The Eve of St Agnes'; and his six famous odes, now considered among the most famous verse in the language.

John Keats was born in October 1795. His Poems appeared in 1817, while Endymion was published in 1818, both to mixed reviews. In 1819 he wrote The Eve of St Agnes, La Belle Dame sans Merci, the major odes, Lamia and the Fall of Hyperion. Keats was already unwell when preparing his 1820 volume for the press; by the time it appeared in July he was desperately ill. He died in Rome in 1821, in a rented apartment next to the Spanish Steps, at the age of twenty-five. John Barnard is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Leeds and has edited The Complete Poems of Keats for Penguin Classics.

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