Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “John Keats: A New Life” as Want to Read:
John Keats: A New Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

John Keats: A New Life

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  14 reviews
This landmark biography of celebrated Romantic poet John Keats explodes entrenched conceptions of him as a delicate, overly sensitive, tragic figure. Instead, Nicholas Roe reveals the real flesh-and-blood poet: a passionate man driven by ambition but prey to doubt, suspicion, and jealousy; sure of his vocation while bitterly resentful of the obstacles that blighted his car ...more
Hardcover, 446 pages
Published November 13th 2012 by Yale University Press (first published September 14th 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about John Keats, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about John Keats

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 318)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Julie Bozza
Brilliant. Just brilliant. The biography by Andrew Motion has been my Keatsian bible for many many years now, and while I reluctantly began thinking it was probably about time for an update, I also dreaded the prospect. I really love and admire John Keats, and Motion was a big part of me getting to know him; I didn't want to lose my (always inadequate, always conditional) grasp on who Keats really was.

Of course I needn't have feared, and any courage needed certainly paid off. This is a great boo
stephanie cassidy
word and work gain an intimacy when
the day to day forging of them
is imagined. how, to know a keats
or a stone for that matter, felt
and then bashed or stroked the shore
of astonishment,
could it be any less supposed
for the product of it? no such coal--
diamond, and the weight, the wait,
of all that pressure, all that de-
composing bonematter...
Suzie Grogan
I am going to review this in full on my blog, but in the immediate aftermath so to speak I can say two things a) Nicholas Roe has Keats on the psychotherapist's couch b) it is fascinating but not entirely convincing. Too many 'he must have thought this' and 'he would have thought that' for my liking. But it is a fresh perspective,his childhood assuming a far greater influence on his poetry than previously assumed and brilliantly researched, especially in relation to Keats's early years and his i ...more
Daniel Swanger
Despite unusual punctuation (Keats's as possessive) and almost hourly updates as meticulously researched, heavily from Keats' published letters, this is a new milestone biography of just 25 years of a poet's life. Did you know that John Keats' brother George was swindled out of his money by American artist John James Audubon? Interestingly, Keats seems to have lived on almost no income as houseguest of friends and through monetary loans, and through giving monetary loans. I read this book to see ...more
Naima Haviland
Inspired by the beatiful film, Bright Star, which focused on the doomed love between Fanny Brawne and the 18th century poet, John Keats, I read John Keats: the Complete Poems. Then, wanting context, I read Nicholas Roe's biography of the poet, titled: John Keats.

It seems to me that Roe gave more text to Keats' childhood, growth as a poet, and his travels than he did to his romance with Fanny Brawne. After the movie and from reading Keats' love poems inspired by her, I expected the woman to play
Reading this was like being plunged into John Keats' life in the early 1800s. The detail made this a vivid and enthralling read.
So fascinating to learn of his childhood, family upheaval ,his medical training, death of his brother from the same disease that killed him aged only 25,his literary circle financial troubles and his love life.
I loved being reacquainted with his poems and to learn how some sonnets were dashed off in competition with his friends.
His last journey to Italy and his death ,
Gregory Alexander
Great life of Keats. I was especially moved by Roe's rendering of Keats's death.
By far the best John Keats biography there is!
Lauren Albert
Writing a biography of someone who lived for only 25 years has its problems, no matter how exciting those years may have been. Roe fills a lot of the space of the book with long passages from Keats' poems and his own explications of them based on Keats' experiences. This can get irritating--I don't think it matters what early landscape inspired some word choice. Maybe that's just me. My other problem was that I guess I've just become more modernist-leaning and found much of Keats' poetry irritat ...more
I loved this biography of John Keats. I love pretty much everything about him. It was a really fascinating look at him as a person, especially how his childhood experiences and medical studies shaped his career. It made me appreciate his poetry more. Also, reading about his depressing and painful death made me cry on the Metro, which is always a great, totally normal way to start a day.
Very readable and immersive. Loved Roe's efforts to gap fill Keats's early life and his constant eye out for possible sources of small inspiration for some of the description in the poems. Also, learned that Keats's dog (sister's dog) was called Wagtail. Not as mind-shifting as Motion's book but absolutely enjoyable.
Alessa Hutter
A very well done biography on one of the greatest poets to ever set pen to paper.
Edward Twohig
A stunning, fresh biography, shedding new material over well trodden ground. Great!
Rita Comstock
If you love Keats, this book is a must.
Ana is currently reading it
Nov 23, 2015
Ronnie marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2015
Bev Tolley
Bev Tolley marked it as to-read
Nov 17, 2015
Bryoniadioica marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2015
Nona Soliman
Nona Soliman marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2015
Leila marked it as to-read
Nov 10, 2015
Sophie marked it as to-read
Nov 03, 2015
Jeff Arra
Jeff Arra is currently reading it
Oct 31, 2015
Bookishwoman marked it as to-read
Oct 14, 2015
Dana Idris
Dana Idris marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2015
INDERJIT marked it as to-read
Sep 23, 2015
Avalon marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2015
Michael marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2015
Dennis Underwood
Dennis Underwood marked it as to-read
Sep 11, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography
  • Keats
  • Shelley: The Pursuit
  • The Friendship: Wordsworth and Coleridge
  • Byron: Life and Legend
  • Young Romantics: The Tangled Lives of English Poetry's Greatest Generation
  • The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham: A Biography
  • John Keats
  • Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
  • Built of Books: How Reading Defined the Life of Oscar Wilde
  • Deceived With Kindness
  • Elizabeth Gaskell: A Habit of Stories
  • Leonard Woolf: A Biography
  • George Eliot: The Last Victorian
  • The Late Lord Byron
  • My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson
  • The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys
  • Henry James: A Life

Share This Book

“... Whereas Hunt recommended universal charity, Keats, feeling himself 'in a Mist', relied on a knowing passivity: 'Men should bear with each other - there lives not the Man who may not be cut up, aye hashed to pieces on his weakest side'.” 1 likes
“... Coexisting with the radiant masculinity of Apollonian Keats is a lunar poet of enchanted night in thrall to the goddess Hecate.” 1 likes
More quotes…