I'd read on the Keats House website that the author was going to do a lecture based on the book about how some physical trait Keats inherited from his father could have contributed to both their early deaths.
What did the author say on this? My mother tells me that some people have immunity to TB and some don’t. I found out that TB had been in my family and that none of us had immunity to it (hence needing the jabs against it after the BCG test) - so if I had lived in John’s time…
all the author wants to say is that British physicians need to explore giving better palliative care to their dying patients. He uses Keats primarily as an example of how withholding palliative care can cause excruciating and unnecessary suffering.
That’s been a topic of discussion over here for the past four years or so now. There was a woman Diane Pretty who was wasting away from ME and wanted to have Euthanasia. It’s legal in Switzerland and some Brits go there but relatives who go with them can be prosecuted when they return. I for one agree with Euthanasia. I so could empathise with poor John when he wanted to take the Laudanum and Joseph took the bottle off him.
The author brings up a few interesting tidbits--some of them just questions that really can't be proved or disproved. One such question was whether or not Keats, who had a great understanding of medicinal plants (and often refers to them in his poems) ever used any of them to help "induce the muse" (so to speak).
I never thought of that before. They didn’t have much knowledge of medicinal plants in the 1800s as they had had in the Celtic and Saxon times. A lot of the folk herbal knowledge was handed down from women, who by the Catholic times were often suspected of witchcraft so much knowledge was lost. No disrespect to our Dr Junkets but I doubt he would have had as much knowledge as the early herb wives. I somehow cannot see John being silly enough to mess around with henbane! I think John was a natural mystic who didn’t need to take anything to get all dreamy.
He considers the times Keats used Opium, but certainly doesn't make any kind of claim that Keats was a drug addict or actually used drugs to help him write.
Well Laudanum was the drug of the way for all sorts of conditions- though when Brown found out he was using it he stopped. I wonder what the medicine was that he was given when he was ill before he left for Italy ? He mentions a medicine in one of his letters to Fanny and asked for her to excuse him on account of it- it seems to be affecting him.