Study Guide

John Keats Timeline

Oct 31, 1795

John Keats Born

John Keats is born near London, the first of five children of stable keeper Thomas Keats and Frances Jennings Keats.

Dec 19, 2019

Brother Dies

Keats' infant brother Edward dies.

Dec 19, 2019

Starts School

Keats begins his studies at a small school in Enfield, England, run by a man named John Clarke.

Apr 16, 1804

Father Dies

Thomas Keats is thrown from a horse and dies of a fractured skull. John's mother, now a widow with four surviving children, remarries later the same year.

Dec 19, 2019

Mother Disappears

Keats' mother abandons the family and disappears for three and a half years, leaving the children with their grandmother. Ten-year-old John suffers from chronic anxiety.

Dec 19, 2019

Mother Returns

Keats' mother returns to the family, sick with tuberculosis and rheumatism. Keats nurses her.

Mar 1, 1810

Mother Dies

Frances Jennings Keats dies of tuberculosis, the disease that eventually claims two of her sons. She leaves the children in the care of their grandmother. The grandmother signs over care of the children to a guardian, Richard Abbey, who takes the children's inheritance money for himself.

Dec 19, 2019

Leaves School

Abbey pulls Keats from his studies at Enfield and apprentices him to a surgeon in nearby Edmonton. Keats studies at night with Charles Cowden Clarke, a sympathetic administrator at the school who sees his potential.

Dec 19, 2019

Starts Medical School

After four years as an apprentice, Keats begins his medical studies at Guy's Hospital in London. Privately, he has started to write poetry.

Oct 1, 1816

Becomes Serious About Poetry

Keats meets the poet Leigh Hunt, who encourages him, introduces him to other poets (including Percy Bysshe Shelley) and becomes an important influence on his work.

Dec 1, 1816

Leaves Medicine

Keats decides to abandon his medical career for good so that he can focus on his poetry. Richard Abbey is furious and the two have a falling-out.

Mar 3, 1817

First Poems Published

Keats' first poetry collection, a volume simply entitled Poems, is published.

Jul 1, 1818

Walking Tour

Keats embarks on a six-week walking tour of England and Scotland with his friend Charles Armitage Brown. His brother Thomas is ill with tuberculosis, but Keats is assured that he will survive his journey.

Nov 28, 1818

Finishes Endymion

Keats completes Endymion, his first major long poem. The poem begins with the immortal line, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

Dec 1, 1818

Brother Dies

Keats' beloved brother Thomas dies of tuberculosis at the age of 19.

Dec 19, 2019

Meets Fanny Brawne

After his brother's death, Keats moves in with his friend Charles Brown in the Hampstead neighborhood of London. There, he meets and soon falls in love with his neighbor, Fanny Brawne. By the end of the year, the couple is engaged. This is a year of ups and downs for Keats - he writes many of his best poems, including the famous Odes, but also battles depression and the first symptoms of tuberculosis.

Feb 3, 1820

Tuberculosis Appears

Keats has a lung hemorrhage, the first serious symptom of the tuberculosis that will eventually take his life. When the second one happens a few months later, he moves into Leigh Hunt's house, where Fanny nurses him.

Jul 1, 1820

Final Poems Published

Keats' final volume of poetry, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes and Other Poems, is published to strong reviews.

Sep 17, 1820

Sails for Italy

Keats' doctor informs him that his lungs will not survive an English winter. Keats bids Fanny Brawne a painful farewell and sails to Italy with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn.

Feb 23, 1821

John Keats dies.

John Keats dies of tuberculosis at the age of 25 in Rome. He is buried in the Protestant cemetery. Percy Bysshe Shelley writes the poem Adonais as an elegy for him.