John Keats in the Context of the Physical Society, Guy’s Hospital, 1815–1816

  • John BarnardEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


The Physical Society of Guy’s Hospital held weekly meetings between October and May every year to discuss medical ‘cases’ presented by its members, a body drawn from the clinical staff and students at Guy’s and St Thomas’s Hospitals. The unpublished ‘cases’ from 1815 to 1816 give graphic accounts of the kind of cases and operations Keats dealt with as a dresser. An account of the society’s aims and membership gives a vivid insight into the professional development of staff and students at the two hospitals, and its enlightened medical education. This context, including a comparison with some of Keats’s fellow students and their subsequent careers, highlights the extraordinary stamina, physical, emotional and intellectual, required by Keats in the parallel pursuit of his professional duties and poetic ambitions throughout his eighteen months at Guy’s.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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