John Keats' Medical Notebook

BookJohn Keats' Medical Notebook

John Keats' Medical Notebook

Text, Context, and Poems

English Association Monographs: English at the Interface, 6


January 28th, 2020



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John Keats’s Medical Notebook is an ingenious roadmap to conceptual issues in the teaching of Romantic medicine; its informed annotations and originality of research reveal the depth of Keats’s knowledge and comprehension of what he had learned in theoretical and practical medical science.’
Hermione de Almeida, Walter Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Tulsa
'Readers of Keats--and most assuredly not only those interested in Medicine--will find much of value in Ghosh's book. In clean, precise, and accessible prose that belies the depth of archival research that went into the book's making, Ghosh convincingly makes her case for a new focus on the medical Notebook, adding a fresh and forceful voice to those in the field arguing for renewed attention to the young Keats. If the medical Notebook "was a dynamic repository of evolving knowledge" for Keats, Ghosh's study will be one for us.'
James Robert Allard, Review 19

John Keats was a trained surgeon who studied at Guy’s Hospital, London while simultaneously making his way as a poet. This book focuses attention on an important but hitherto neglected Keats manuscript: the notebook he maintained during this period. Reconstructing the lively medical world that played a formative role in Keats’ intellectual and imaginative development, it seeks to show the intriguing connections between Keats’ medical knowledge and his greatest poetry. It offers new research on Keats’ medical career – including a new edition of his medical Notebook compiled from the manuscript – and recovers the various ways in which Keats’ creativity found expression in his two careers of medicine and poetry, enriching both. Topics explored include the ‘hospital poems’ Keats wrote at Guy’s; the medical milieu of his daily life; his methods of working as revealed by his medical Notebook and other archival sources; and the medical contexts that informed his composition of Endymion and the collection Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and Other Poems (1820).

John Keats’ Medical Notebook: Text, Context and Poems reveals how Keats’ visceral knowledge of human life, gained during his medical training at Guy’s, transformed him into ‘a mighty poet of the human heart’.

'John Keats’ Medical Notebook is well written and well referenced... A scholarly contribution to the literature about Keats, the book provides new insights and analyses of his medical student days and how medical training influenced his brilliant and remarkable poetry.'
Arpan K. Banerjee, Hektoen International Journal

‘There is a generosity in the care that has been taken in preparing this new edition that reveals an investment in the future work that will undoubtedly be generated by this project, as much as in its own attendant literary analysis.’
Meegan Hasted, European Romantic Review

Author Information

Hrileena Ghosh is an independent scholar whose research interests lie in Romanticism and the relationship between literary and scientific thought throughout the long eighteenth century.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
A Note on Texts14
John Keats’ Medical Notebook: An Annotated Edition33
1. John Keats’ Medical Notebook: An Overview101
2. John Keats’ ‘Guy’s Hospital’ Poetry133
3. Keats’ Medical Milieu164
4. John Keats at Guy’s: Scholar and Poet187
5. Endymion and the Physiology of Passion217
6. ‘The Only State for the Best Sort of Poetry’247