Tuesday, January 15, 2013

News at Eleven: Written on his deathbed in Rome,

his last letter asks his friend Charles Brown to contact his remaining brother and sister, and it manages in the process to feel heartbroken, efficient, winsome--as if the whole person, in all his complexity, were speaking from the page:

"'Tis the most difficult thing in the world [for] me to write a letter. My stomach continues so bad, that I feel it worse on opening any book. . . . Write to George as soon as you receive this, and tell him how I am, as far as you can guess;--and also a note to my sister--who walks about my imagination like a ghost--she is so like Tom. I can scarcely bid you good bye even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow."

Three months later, [John] Keats was dead, and Joseph Severn, the friend who had accompanied him to Rome, described the final moments:

from The Nation: Irritable Reachings: On John Keats


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