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John Keats Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Keats was no wimp. He was known for his ability to rule in schoolyard fights. As one student recalled, his classmates expected that he "would become great - but rather in some military capacity than in literature."15

One of Keats' duties as a medical student in the era before anesthesia was to physically restrain patients on the operating table during surgeries.16

The doctor who autopsied Keats said the poet suffered from the worst case of tuberculosis he had ever seen. He couldn't believe Keats had lived as long as he did.17

In keeping with his requests, Keats was buried with Fanny Brawne's unopened letters, a lock of her hair and a purse made by his sister.18

For years after Keats' death, his fans (including Byron and Shelley) believed that his fatal lung hemorrhage was caused by the stress of his negative reviews.19

Fanny Brawne wore the gold engagement ring John Keats gave her until her death in 1865.20

Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned in 1822, and when his body washed ashore, it was identified by the copy of Keats' Lamia that he carried in his pocket.21

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