The Joy of Finding Your Tribe: The remarkable talents of the age congregated there to discuss liberal politics and have literary conversations.

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
2 min read
Photo by David T on Unsplash

That month of October, besides writing his first great poem, Keats met Leigh Hunt. Hunt recalled their initial encounter

“the impression made upon me by the exuberant specimens of genuine though young poetry that were laid before me, and the promise of which was seconded by the fine fervid countenance of the writer. We became intimate on the spot, and I found the young poet’s heart as warm as his imagination.”

Clarke called it:

“a red-letter day’ in the young poet’s life, and one which will never fade with me while memory lasts. . . . Keats was suddenly made a familiar of the household, and was always welcomed.”

Through Hunt, Keats was introduced to others who were to become fast friends and loyal enthusiasts for the rest of his life, including the poet John Hamilton Reynolds and the painter Benjamin Robert Haydon.

A couple of weeks later, he was introduced to Charles Ollier. Ollier was Percy Bysshe Shelley’s publisher and would publish Keats’s first volume.

Photo by Artsy Vibes on Unsplash

Throughout his life, Keats would think of Hunt’s home in Hampstead as a refuge. Hunt’s house was a place of pleasant domesticity situated in beautiful surroundings. It was animated with an air of unpretentious cultivation, full of books, paintings, and music.

The remarkable talents of the age congregated there to discuss liberal politics and have literary conversations. This atmosphere was a bucolic ideal of high Regency culture into which Keats was now an initiate.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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