Department or Program
Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor
Luther Terrell Tyler
John Keats prophesied that, “I think I shall be among the English poets after my death,” and strove throughout his short life to produce poetry that would elevate him to the same level as Shakespeare and Milton before him. While he received mostly antagonistic literary reviews during his lifetime, Keats has since become one of the most beloved of the Romantic poets. His poetry, strongly influenced by his youthful passion and the urgency of his quickly deteriorating health, blossomed between the years of 1818-1820, right before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 25. By utilizing primary source documents, I analyze his poems within the context of letters he wrote to his close friends and family, which paint a near complete portrait of the inner workings of the poet’s mind. My thesis focuses on how his physician’s training influenced his poetry, as well as how the circumstances surrounding his life shaped his writing, his views on life, and his own apparent mortality.