Imagining a future for John Keats — the novelist

Keats long ago became the meaningless emblem of poetic genius. When the poet Amanda Gorman appeared at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, both detractors and admirers wanted to set her against the highest possible comparison. They didn’t reach for the US’s new Nobel laureate, Louise Glück. They went for Keats: either ‘Amanda Gorman is Keats-level brilliant’ or ‘Well, it’s not exactly Keats’. But what is Keats, exactly? It seems to me that there is a difference between the 5ft English poet who worked for a very few years before dying at 25 in 1821, and the idea of ‘Keats’. The idea of ‘Keats’ encompasses a great love story with Fanny Brawne;