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John Keats' Medical NotebookText, Context, and Poems$
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Hrileena Ghosh

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620610

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620610.001.0001

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Keats’ Medical Milieu

Keats’ Medical Milieu

(p.150) Chapter Three Keats’ Medical Milieu
John Keats' Medical Notebook

Hrileena Ghosh

Liverpool University Press

This chapter offers an account of the London teaching hospitals to show that Keats had privileged access to intellectual capital. London was a hotbed of intellectual ferment, as embodied by professional bodies like the Guy’s Hospital Physical Society and which found expression in the Vitalism Debates. The milieu within which Keats lived and worked is explored, focusing particularly upon characteristic aspects of Romantic medical training that are now obsolete, such as dissection of corpses freshly exhumed by ‘resurrection men’. The only known account of Keats in action as a surgeon is discussed, revealing that Keats was not fully persuaded by the prevailing Brunonian hypothesis of physiology. The chapter draws upon unpublished contemporary manuscripts in dating Keats’ medical notes, thus resolving an important and hitherto uncertain issue.

Keywords:   London teaching hospitals, intellectual capital, Guy’s Hospital Physical Society, Vitalism Debates, dissection, resurrection men, dating, Brunonian hypothesis

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