Literary Locales: Keats House

January 20, 2011 at 6:11 am 4 comments

This is a part of our “Literary Locales” series here at LT. Check out the first post in the series for more information.

What: Keats House
Where: Keats Grove, Hampstead, London NW3 2RR
Literary Connection: Keats lived here (and met Fanny Brawne here)
Recommended Reading:Bright Star,” undoubtedly, although he also wrote “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” “Ode on a Grecian Urn” and “Ode to a Nightingale” while living in this house
Transgression: Regency love thwarted by consumption!

I’m going to admit up front that I know very little about John Keats. I’m not a die-hard Keats fan nor do I hate the man; I’m just largely unaware. I enjoy the romanticism of his relationship with Fanny Brawne and I’m a Regency-lovin’ girl, but specificity about him is not part of my literary repertoire. (And you all know how I feel about poetry in general.) All the same, this past Sunday I discovered his house in Hampstead and took a turn about the place. And it was lovely.

The house itself is a beautiful example of Regency architecture and style, although very sparsely decorated these days. There is one large case of Keats portraiture and busts, another case with Fanny Brawne paraphernalia, a few pieces of reproduction furniture scattered throughout the house, and that is about it. All the same, it is beautiful and very nice to walk around. Additionally, there are some great guides in each room explaining whatever is in it and what the room was used for in Keats time.

As a Keats novice, I got to learn about him (and Fanny, since she lived in one half of the house with her family and he in the other) and see a remarkably well preserved Regency home. I would imagine that the experience would have been much deeper and more meaningful for someone who loves Keats, but I really enjoyed the visit even as someone who doesn’t. The architecture was enough for me! I’ve read so much Austen, but never really experienced an original home of the period. Being physically in a contemporary space really added a new layer to my reading.

Also, as a bonus, one admission ticket to the house is good for a whole year and they often have fun programs and lectures to take advantage of. Next weekend, they’re having a day of Regency games which I will most definitely be attending!



Entry filed under: Literary Locales. Tags: , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Iris  |  January 20, 2011 at 9:17 am

    That is a great bonus! I would visit this if I were ever in the neighbourhood, or try, since I have a feeling my boyfriend might not like all my big plans for literary visits “once we’re in the UK”.

    I did not know anything about Keats either, but I watched the movie Bright Star a few months ago, and I admit that since then I have been fascinated. I know, it is completely the wrong way to go about such things, but hey, it worked for me.

    • 2. Corey  |  January 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

      Literary visits are the best kind of visits! I say drag the boyfriend along, they’re lovely homes even if you’re not into the literary side of them. :)

      Ooo, I really want to see “Bright Star”! And if the movie inspired your interest, it can’t be bad. I got into Greek mythology because of the Disney “Hercules” so I really can’t judge!

  • 3. Em  |  January 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I studied Keats for my degree and he is my favourite Romantic.
    It sounds like a good visit and would certainly inspire me to read a couple of his poems…

    • 4. Corey  |  January 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

      Indeed, that is exactly what it did for me. :)


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