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Episode 1

Keats' short life and the myths around his after-life freshly examined by Sasha Dugdale. 1. Keats in 1819 - poet, doctor, nurse and patient. With Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Keats.

Stripping away old myths, this series provides a vibrant new portrait of John Keats as a doctor and poet, 200 years after his death and in view of all we have learned in the Covid era.

With readings from the poems and letters by Thomas Brodie-Sangster

John Keats's death at the age of just 25 and the cult that immediately grew up around his memory often suggest he was a delicate flower. Sasha Dugdale, an award-winning poet herself, looks beyond this image to reveal an energetic young man, living life to the full both as a poet and doctor, until the endemic illness of his day, TB - which had already stolen his mother and brother - overwhelmed him.

In the first programme, Sasha's focus is Keats' final productive year, 1819 - in which he wrote five of the greatest odes in the English language, including Ode to a Nightingale and To Autumn. By then, Keats was no longer practising as a doctor, but Sasha reveals how, far from abandoning medicine for poetry, the two were deeply intertwined.

This vivid new radio portrait of Keats, very much created in the era of Covid, sheds new light on the great poet of mortality and immortality.

With contributions from Sir Bob Geldof - Keats-Shelley200 ambassador of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, Professor Sir Jonathan Bate of Arizona State University; Dr Mina Gorji from Pembroke College, Cambridge; Druin Burch, a doctor of acute medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford; Keats's biographer Lucasta Miller; Giuseppe Albano curator of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome.

With the off-air aid of Hrileena Ghosh, editor of a new edition of Keats's medical notebook, published by Liverpool University Press.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

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28 minutes

Last on

Thu 18 Feb 2021 11:30

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  • Thu 18 Feb 2021 11:30