Eugenia Russell

Eugenia Russell / News / Sun 21 Feb 2021

New Book Marks the 200th Anniversary of the Death of John Keats

New Book Marks the 200th Anniversary of the Death of John Keats

Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites: a selection of poetry illustrated by Pre-Raphaelite artists and their successors

Edited by Eugenia Russell & Quentin Russell

Illustrated in colour

2021 marks the bicentenary of the death of the Romantic poet John Keats
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)

Following his early death at the age of only 25, John Keats became one of the most influential poets of the 19th century, both for fellow poets and for artists. His quest for the ideal of poetic beauty led him to forge an original and powerful voice full of melancholy and a constant longing, which won him the adoration of his peers and of successive generations. While many later poets acknowledged a debt to his poetic themes and form and his reflections on the relationship between the real and ideal, his narrative poems, akin to Tennyson’s later medieval poems, fuelled the imagination of a whole generation of artists.

The Pre-Raphaelites in particular saw in him a kindred radical spirit and were moved by verses and his painterly poetic vision. Both William Holman Hunt and Arthur Hughes depicted scenes from his The Eve of St Agnes and similarly Endymion, Isabella or the Pot of Basil, Lamia and La Belle Dame sans Merci inspired a number of works by the likes of John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse, George Frederick Watts and Walter Crane.

In this book for the first time Keats’ poems, including in addition to the above narrative poems his well-known To Autumn and Ode to a Nightingale, are placed together with the paintings they inspired plus some of the illustrations to his works.

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