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In the summer of 1818, John Keats and his friend, Charles Brown, headed north to Scotland on a walking tour to visit Burns country and the rugged, Romantic landscape beyond. They planned a route that would first take them through Northern England, the Lake District and Wordsworth country. Their goal was to reach John o'Groats and return by way of Perthshire. This journey came at a time when Keats rejected a career of medicine, having practiced as a surgeon at Guys Hospital, and resolved to devote himself solely to writing poetry. The journey was to be a Prologue to his reimagined life.
Keats's letters offer an affecting narrative thread of his relations to his siblings--George, who was emigrating to America with his new bride; Fanny, the youngest, who was in the care of an unfriendly guardian; and most of all Tom, alone in Hampstead, dying of consumption. Keats never made it to John o'Groats. The serious sore throat contracted on the Isle of Mull forced him to return to London where his first task on return was tending to Tom.
Capturing the landscapes, landmarks, poetry and letters of Keats's epic walk, Carol Kyros Walker retraced Keats's footsteps originally in 1978-1979 and again in the autumns of 2015 and 2016 allowing readers to 'walk' alongside him. This updated edition documents photographically both the original and the later journeys, reassessing the cultural picture of Scotland, and providing an intimate glimpse into Keats's life, friendship and family ties.