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4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  233 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
John Keats (1795-1821) is one of the greatest and most loved of all English poets. Beyond the richness of his work, his poignant life has helped to define the modern paradigm of the poet's story. The son of a stable keeper, Keats was orphaned as a boy. He trained as a doctor but gave up his profession for poetry. He contracted tuberculosis while nursing his brother through ...more
Hardcover, 636 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 989)
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Nov 22, 2015 Jan-Maat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: undaunted Romantics and ninteenth-century Radicals
At school sex and death (view spoiler) was provided via the medium of John Donne rather than by means of John Keats. So when I started to read a volume of John Keats' selected verse I wondered why somebody living in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the city was already a metropolis with over a million inhabitants sprawli ...more
Jan 29, 2013 Meagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been picking through this biography for a paper, and can't wait to sit down and read the whole thing! Keats was a fascinating and tragic figure.


I think I have some things to say about Keats, but it's late, and reading about the end of his life has made me sad. Review to come.


OK. Where to begin? I should mention that I've been a fan of Keats, as much as I can be a fan without being particularly skilled at reading and understanding poetry, for several years. The odes,
May 09, 2013 Stacey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't tend towards biographies in general. Mostly because often too much in the way of factual content can be a little dry, no matter how it is presented.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed Motion's Keats immensely. I was a little apprehensive at first. I had basic facts and knowledge as a rough foundation, and some recollection of Keats from my university years (and the film Bright Star, ahem) but this was a whole other level.

Keats is synonymous with the idea of an inherently tragic figure, and rightly s
Dec 15, 2011 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
John Keats perhaps is my favorite of the Romantic poets. I favor Keats for the poetry and Chopin for the music- although they perhaps each alone bookmark the era. I see there are some similarities between him and Jim Morrison from our own era- however, differences perhaps outweigh the similarities.
Both men died young too young- Keats at 25, Morrison at 27. Both died foreign deaths, due to natural causes. Both were perhaps (arguably) the most talented of their peers, (and here I would argue, Mor
Jan 28, 2012 Aspho rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"To John Keats - Whose Name Was Writ in Eternity' -quoting Dan Simmons' dedication at the start of his Keats' inspired novel 'The Fall of Hyperion'.

My own review written for Amazon UK:

I approached Andrew Motion’s biography of John Keats with some apprehension - I am no expert, academic or poet. Having read and struggled through Richard Ellmann’s biography of Oscar Wilde Oscar Wilde a few years ago, I did wonder if I was going to enjoy Motion’s book at all.

I really need not have worried. This is
Feb 21, 2010 Charlotte rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
The full disclaimer is, I have not read this whole book, and I'm never going to. I just watched the movie Bright Star, about Keats & Fanny Brawne, and it was great, so I thought, maybe I'll finally read more of that massive Keats biography I bought back in the day when I had a plan of reading all his letters and poems and a bio & a critical study (HA!) and I did read the first 100 pages, and they were...not very interesting. This is really a book for Keats scholars, not post-grad school ...more
Jul 20, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2009 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Campion on Charlie Rose said that when she turned 50 she felt that she needed to revisit and really understand poetry-referring to poetry as planting a garden in the mind. Keats being her focus and this biography being her first foray into understanding the poet.

This is a biography well worth delving into.
Aug 19, 2014 Patricia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I love Keats' poetry but I found this biography dull and the picture it gives of Keats is frustrating. There is too much analysis of the poetry for an easy flowing biography. And Keats' improvidence annoyed me. Why ever would he expect to live on poetry writing alone? Even the wonderful Odes are not enough to sustain a lifetime's income, even for so short a life as Keats'. His refusal to earn by other means and his frustration at bad reviews and poor sales seem to be just not facing up to realit ...more
Oct 06, 2015 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read Andrew Motion's biography because Jane Campion read it and was inspired to create the film "Bright Star." The film is remarkable, so very, very beautiful.

Motion brings Keats, his contemporaries, his times vividly to life and shatters the tired, inaccurate myths about him. Keats was dynamic, alive, brilliant, progressive in his politics, courageous, and compassionate. He longed to "do good in the world" through poetry.

Like Campion, I was unprepared for the force and poignancy
Mark Bruce
Oct 10, 2014 Mark Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spoiler: Keats achieves his dearest dream of becoming one of the great English poets in the end. About thirty years after his death.
This is a detailed and well written biography of the seminal "poet who died too young." One might think that a man who lived only 25 years would have a short bio, but Motion puts Keats in context with his times and politics. Every detail of the poet's short life is examined, and the poetry is critiqued closely. Safe to say that when you have finished thus book, you
Catherine Siemann
Aug 14, 2009 Catherine Siemann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romantics
An excellent, thorough biography interspersed with solid readings of the poems -- Keats died at age 26, and somehow Motion's biography runs to nearly 600 pages without ever seeming unnecessarily detailed.
Naji Mokh
A wonderful poet once you read his poems you discover the plagiarism committed by the Arabian so called poet "ADONIS".
Aug 15, 2015 Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andrew Motion's greatest achievement lies not in vivifying Keats the Poet (a dubious task: John's letters already achieve that) or extolling imaginary facets of his verse to speciously induce 'freshness', but with ripping the consumptive varnish off Keats the Man. Motion enumerates Keatsian cliches and antagonisms — vulgar effete, floral cockney, a perpetually etherealized depressive — and vigorously dismantles them, claiming the catastrophic influence of Shelley's seraphic Adonais, contrary to ...more
Mar 14, 2014 Elysa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly well researched, but it is quite grueling in the beginning. Sometimes there is a bit too much literary criticism. At one point, I forgot where I was in Keats' life story, because Motion had been talking about one poem for so long. However, he hits his stride, and the book becomes impossible to set down. Good research, great notes, and a wonderful choice of images included.
Apr 25, 2014 Lulla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and very long version of someone's biography and views of Keats whom despite his short life, wasn't known for his luck but for such a grand work of arts.
Mark Bennett
Aug 07, 2011 Mark Bennett rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The book that inspired Jane Campion to make her ripper and heart-rending film, "Bright Star."

A tome of a work, detailed and sensitive to the genius of Keats and his story.

Took me forever but it was oh so worth it. The last of the Keats cycle for me.
A dense, highly analytical look at Keats' life. I sometimes found Motion's style a little tough to follow (there were a couple of pages that my eyes kind of slid over and I had to go back), but it's a very fine biography of Keats.
Apr 13, 2015 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not quite sure how Motion managed this, when he has such an interesting story to tell, but this is one of the dullest biographies I've read. It was really hard going and I ended up skimming through to the end. Disappointing.
Jul 09, 2012 S.S rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me the better part of a month to finish this book and I still don't want to part with it! Don't let the length deter you, Motion makes Keats real. No wonder Jane Campion was inspired.
Beth Bonini
I spent about an hour today with my Keats. By age 15, Keats was an orphan -- and apprenticed to a doctor. I have a 15 year old, and we worry about her riding the train on her own!
Ian Hartley
I was full of great expectations knowing the author was a poet but I found Motion's style arid and lacking any real passion for his subject. this was quite an amazing discovery.
Rachel Murphy
Ah, just didn't have enough time to finish this before it needed to go back to the library. Will have to resume later...
Apr 09, 2010 Carol marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Saw the movie Bright Star, loved it, now I want to read the book that inspired Jane Campion to make the movie.
Jacqueline Burns-Walters
Oh Keats!
Why did you have to die so young, with so many possibilities?
He is very inspiring.
Mar 17, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A highly detailed, insightful and honest account of the 19th century's most sensitive poet.
Sep 24, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super fantastic. I really enjoyed it. If you like Keats' poetry you will love this biography.
May 08, 2011 Stephanie marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2011, biography
library book. i ordered it after seeing a movie about him that was intriguing.
Elizabeth Berckmann
Elizabeth Berckmann rated it really liked it
May 21, 2016
Tomek marked it as to-read
May 18, 2016
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Sir Andrew Motion, FRSL (born 26 October 1952) is an English poet, novelist and biographer, who presided as Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009.

Motion was appointed Poet Laureate on 1 May 1999, following the death of Ted Hughes, the previous incumbent. The Nobel Prize-winning Northern Irish poet and translator Seamus Heaney had ruled himself out for the post. Breaking with the tr
More about Andrew Motion...

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