Tag Archives: tuberculosis

John Keats, 1795-1821

8 Apr

In 1821 John Keats died of tuberculosis, having nursed his mother and younger brother through this same sickness. He was only twenty-five years old, yet in those few years Keats penned some of the most beautiful words ever written. There might have been other more beautiful words, but for this terrible disease. A disease that recognized no social boundaries, no genius. Many years after his death, TB is once more a cause for concern – its resistance to antibiotics, its predilection for the closed ventilation of long-haul flights.

Hyperion was a work Keats abandoned, but returned to, dissatisfied yet seeking completion. This ballad, The End of Hyperion, was written as part of a degree assignment. The subject was a matter of choice. So I chose Keats unfinished masterpiece. And I chose to consider those dark moments when one is forced to challenge the fates and to accuse them of poor judgement . . .

A curse for all eternity! John Keats should never have died that young.