John Keats:  Selected Letters

'You see what a many words it requires to give any identity to a thing I could have told you in half a minute.'  John Keats in a letter to his brother George, September 1819


John Keats's signature


This selection of Keats's letters can be navigated in two ways:  chronologically and by recipient.  Each letter is annotated.  I have also written brief introductions.  The spelling and punctuation are Keats's own.  Though the letters are reproduced word for word, bracketed corrections are included.

Over two hundred and forty of Keats's letters survive.  If I could, I would include them all at this website (and that is my eventual goal.)

Viewing the actual letters is as necessary as reading them, I think.  A transcription of a letter cannot show the speed of Keats's thought and writing, whereas the actual letter will show wide gaps between words, or the way he hastily combined words and forgot certain letters.  For that reason, I scan as many letters as I can find.  Please visit Original Manuscript Images to view them.

Reading Keats's letters brings the poet to vivid life.  I hope that your visit to this page leads you to read all of the letters, collected and edited most notably by Hyder Edward Rollins and Robert Gittings.

*Additions to this page are listed at Keatsian News.


William Hilton's posthumous portrait of Keats, after Joseph Severn
posthumous portrait of John Keats by William Hilton



Chronological List of Letters

Letters Grouped by Recipient


1817
To John Hamilton Reynolds, 17-18 April 1817

To Leigh Hunt, 10 May 1817

To Benjamin Robert Haydon, 10-11 May 1817

To Benjamin Bailey, 8 October 1817

To Benjamin Bailey, 28-30 October 1817

To John Hamilton Reynolds, 22 November 1817

1818
To Benjamin Robert Haydon, 23 January 1818
This page also includes a note to John Taylor.

To Benjamin Bailey, 13 March 1818

To Benjamin Robert Haydon, 8 April 1818

To John Hamilton Reynolds, 3 May 1818

To Benjamin Bailey, 21, 25 May 1818

To Benjamin Bailey, 10 June 1818

To Thomas Keats, 25-27 June 1818

1819
To George and Georgiana Keats, September 1819

This letter spans ten days in September and
offers great insight into Keats's life and personality.

To Fanny Brawne, 11 October 1819

To Fanny Brawne, 13 October 1819

To Fanny Brawne, 19 October 1819

To Fanny Keats, 26 (?) October 1819

1820
To Fanny Brawne, February 1820 collection

To Fanny Keats, 8 February 1820

To Fanny Keats, 14 February 1820

To John Hamilton Reynolds, 28 February 1820

To Fanny Brawne, March 1820 collection

To Fanny Keats, 20 March 1820

To Fanny Brawne, May 1820 collection

To John Taylor, 11 June 1820

To Percy Bysshe Shelley, 16 August 1820

To Fanny Keats, 11 September 1820

To Charles Brown, 30 September 1820

To Charles Brown, 1 November 1820

To Charles Brown, 30 November 1820
This is Keats's last surviving letter.



Benjamin Bailey (1791-1853)
8 October 1817
28-30 October 1817
13 March 1818
21,25 May 1818
10 June 1818

Frances (Fanny) Brawne (1800-1865)
11 October 1819
13 October 1819
19 October 1819
February 1820: collected series of notes
March 1820
: collected series of notes
May 1820: two letters

Charles Brown (1787-1842)
30 September 1820
1 November 1820
30 November 1820

Charles Cowden Clarke (1787-1877)

Charles Wentworth Dilke (1789-1864)

William Haslam (1795/1798(?)-1851)

Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846)
10-11 May 1817
23 January 1818
8 April 1818

James Henry Leigh Hunt (1784-1859)
10 May 1817

Frances Mary (Fanny) Keats (1803-1889)
26 (?) October 1819
8 February 1820
14 February 1820
20 March 1820
11 September 1820

George Keats (1797-1841)

George Keats and Georgiana Augusta Wylie Keats (1798-1879)
September 1819

Thomas Keats (1799-1818)
25-27 June 1818

John Hamilton Reynolds (1794-1852)
17-18 April 1817
22 November 1817
3 May 1818
28 February 1820

James Rice (1792-1832)

Joseph Severn (1793-1879)

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
16 August 1820

John Taylor (1781-1864)
11 June 1820

Richard Woodhouse (1788-1834)



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