In 1818, Keats met Fanny Brawne, his next-door neighbor. Although Brawne was not the first woman in Keats’ life, she was most certainly the one foremost in his mind and the woman he wanted to marry. At first, when one looks at Keats’ first writings about Brawne, it would appear that he was entirely indifferent to her, even going so far as calling her a “minx” and saying that she was “ignorant” and “monstrous in her behavior,” (Roe 287). Yet the more Keats became acquainted with Brawne, the more he became interested in her, reversing what he had thought he felt about her previously. Sensing an attachment that could be harmful for both parties, he endeavored to distance himself from Brawne as he knew he would likely never be married because of his chosen profession as a poet. Nevertheless, they eventually began to spend more time together. During this time, Brawne wrote letters to Keats’ sister, also named Fanny. After spending a day with John Keats, Brawne wrote to Fanny and told her that it was “the happiest day [she] had ever spent,” (Roe 288). Of course, Keats and Brawne fell in love and formed an unofficial engagement, even though Keats and Brawne both knew that it was exceedingly improbable that they should ever be married because of Keats’ financial state. Added to this, Keats’ health, which had been delicate to begin with, evidently became even poorer. Keats was cautious of his health. He would stay in at night saying that he was “too careful of [his] health to risk being out at night,” (Roe 369). Eventually, he realized that he would be the next to slowly succumb to tuberculosis. His illness, in addition to his lack of income, ultimately prevented his marriage to Fanny Brawne. It was during this tumultuous time in his life...
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...o see how Keats admired the poets that preceded him. Not only does he show how his admiration for these poets by their influence on his work, he even wrote poems directly in response to poems that he read, displaying how he had so greatly appreciated the poem. For example, one of the first poems that he composed was “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.” Keats also wrote poems such as “On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again,” where Keats calls Shakespeare the “Chief Poet,” (9).
If read discerningly, Keats’ works give the reader an intimate look into his life from his own perspective. It is undoubtedly a fascinating life about which to read. Against the greatest of odds, Keats became one of the greatest poets of British literature. His achievement is even more incredible considering the brevity of his life and the difficulties he encountered in his life.
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