“Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.”*

*John Keats

From: An Economic History of the English Garden (2019), by Roderick Floud:

“Attacks on the suburbs and their gardens began almost as soon as the word ‘suburban’ was first commonly used in England, around 1800. In 1818, John Keats, now one of the most admired of English Romantic poets, was attacked by the critic John Gibson Lockhart as irredeemably suburban, a ‘Cockney Poet’ writing ‘laborious affected descriptions of flowers seen in window-pots, or cascades heard at Vauxhall’. Lord Byron piled on the insults against Keats and his mentor, Leigh Hunt: ‘The grand distinction of the Under forms of the New School of poets – is their Vulgarity. – By this I do not mean that they are Coarse – but “shabby-genteel” – as it is termed.’ Byron was offended by the fact that Keats did not himself possess landed acres about which he might write but could only visit the countryside and then return in the evening to a suburban villa.

Keats lived in Hampstead…”

From the website of the Poetry Foundation:

“John Keats was born in London on 31 October 1795, the eldest of Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats’s four children. Although he died at the age of twenty-five, Keats had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published only fifty-four poems, in three slim volumes and a few magazines. But over his short development he took on the challenges of a wide range of poetic forms from the sonnet, to the Spenserian romance, to the Miltonic epic, defining anew their possibilities with his own distinctive fusion of earnest energy, control of conflicting perspectives and forces, poetic self-consciousness, and, occasionally, dry ironic wit.”

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