Die, like, better.

The weekly wrap up – featuring the fabulously ridiculous feud between John Keats and Lord Byron.

John Keats died at the age of twenty-five. After a short and dramatic illness, he succumbed to Tuberculosis on Italian shores with few friends at his sick bed. It is speculated his decline was hastened due to a grisly article the Quarterly Review printed, critiquing his poem, Endymion.

Much to the amusement of the sixth Baron Byron.

The same year Keats died, 1821, Byron published his famous Don Juan, in which he references Keats as a poet, “who was kill’d off by one critique.”

But what was the issue?

  • Byron was rich
  • Keats was not

Keats’ working class roots led to friction between him and the literary elite. Often, he would be described as a “Cockney rat”, and his work shunned from praise. And Byron, in the words of Keats was, “six foot tall and a lord!”

Find out more about Keats and Byron – and the scandalous rumour Byron fathered his own half sisters child – on the podcast, Do You Get What I mean?


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