Joseph severn

‘I always made an awkward bow’: John Keats’s poignant farewell

On Sunday 17 September 1820, John Keats and his travelling companion, the young painter Joseph Severn, set sail for Italy, where it was hoped that the warmer climate would benefit the poet’s failing health. It didn’t. He died of tuberculosis in Rome the following February at the age of only 25. The last five months of Keats’s life – the sea voyage to Naples, including ten exhausting days stuck in the bay in quarantine; the overland journey to Rome; his last weeks spent in the rooms above the Spanish Steps that are now a museum – are the focus of this enthralling and original new study. Its author, Alessandro Gallenzi,