John Keats, medicine, and poetry

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter


“I find that I cannot exist without poetry”, John Keats (1795–1821) proclaimed—”eternal poetry” was the essence of life itself. Yet poetry had not always seemed such a singular, compelling cause. For 7 years from 1810 Keats had studied medicine, as he prepared for a career as a surgeon. It was only gradually that he came to see poetry as his true calling, a life-enhancing alternative to the limited resources of contemporary medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)962-963
Number of pages2
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number10278
Early online date22 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 13 Mar 2021


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