John Keats

Topics: John Keats, Charles Cowden Clarke, Family Pages: 2 (479 words) Published: May 19, 2013
1. Research the life of the author
A. What was his life like?
B. What kind of education did this person receive?
Early Life 

John Keats was born on 31 October 1795 to Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats. Keats and his family seemed to have marked his birthday on 29 October, however baptism records give the birth date as the 31st. He was the eldest of four surviving children; George (1797–1841), Thomas (1799–1818) and Frances Mary "Fanny" (1803–1889). Another son was lost in infancy. John was born in central London although there is no clear evidence of the exact location. His father first worked as a hostler at the stables attached to the Swan and Hoop inn, an establishment he later managed and where the growing family lived for some years. Keats believed that he was born at the inn, a birthplace of humble origins, but there is no evidence to support this. The Keats at the Globe pub now occupies the site, a few yards from modern day Moorgate station. He was baptised at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate and sent to a local dame school as a child. 

His parents were unable to afford Eton or Harrow, so in the summer of 1803 he was sent to board at John Clarke's school in Enfield, close to his grandparents' house. The small school had a liberal, progressive outlook and a progressive curriculum more modern than the larger, more prestigious schools. In the family atmosphere at Clarke's, Keats developed an interest in classics and history which would stay with him throughout his short life. The headmaster's son, Charles Cowden Clarke, would become an important influence, mentor and friend, introducing Keats to Renaissance literature including Tasso, Spenser and Chapman's translations. Keats is described as a volatile character "always in extremes", given to indolence and fighting. However at 13 he began focusing his energy towards reading and study, winning his first academic prize in midsummer 1809. 

In April 1804, when Keats was eight, his father died...
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