Fanny Keats (1803-1889) was Keats’s younger sister. Sent to live with their guardian Richard Abbey’s family, she was deliberately separated from her brothers. Abbey did not allow visits and even discouraged letters. Nonetheless, Keats, always protective of his siblings, wrote often and visited when he could. But his illness prevented visits during his last months in England; he left for Italy without saying goodbye. In 1826, Fanny married a Spanish poet, Valentin Maria Llanos y Guieterrez, who had admired Keats and visited the poet just three days before his death. Fanny and her husband left England in 1833 and never returned. They lived in Italy from 1861-1864, where she became friendly with Joseph Severn.
This letter was dictated by Keats to Fanny Brawne. He was not able to visit his sister before leaving for Italy.
11 September 1820
My dear Fanny
In the hope of entirely re-establishing my health I shall leave England for Italy this week and, of course I shall not be able to see you before my departure. It is not illness that prevents me from writing but as I am recommended to avoid every sort of fatigue I have accepted the assistance of a friend, who I have desired to write to you when I am gone and to communicate any intelligence she may hear of me. I am as well as I can expect and feel very impatient to get on board as the sea air is expected to be of great benefit to me. My present intention is to stay some time at Naples and then to proceed to Rome where I shall find several friends or at least several acquaintances. At any rate it will be a relief to quit this cold; wet, uncertain climate. I am not very fond of living in cities but there will be too much to amuse me, as soon as I am well enough to go out, to make me feel dull. I have received your parcel and intend to take it with me. You shall hear from me as often as possible, if I feel too tired to write myself I shall have some friend to do it for me; I have not yet heard from George nor can I expect to receive any letters from him before I leave
Your affectionate brot(her)
Notes: No notes for this particular letter.
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Link will appear as Hanson, Marilee. "John Keats Letter To Fanny Keats, 11 September 1820" https://englishhistory.net/keats/letters/fanny-keats-11-september-1820/, March 17, 2015