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John Keats’ last book turns 200

This nondescript book in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections recently turned 200. John Keats’ final book, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and other Poems, was published in early July 1820.  The collection – now considered one of the most important works of poetry in all of English literature – includes such famous works as “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode to a Nightingale,” and Hyperion. BYU’s copy is still bound in its original paper boards, as issued by the publisher (though the spine has been repaired).

While the volume was better received by critics than Keats’ previous book, Endymion, its publication marked the beginning of the end of Keats’ brief life. Keats was suffering from tuberculosis and his condition deteriorated rapidly throughout July 1820. He sold the copyright of Lamia to raise funds to travel to Italy for the winter in hopes of improving his health. Keats died in Rome on February 23, 1821, aged 25.

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