Was John Keats a graverobber? No, like, actual bodies, not the lines of dead colleagues. This is a supercool conspiracy read. How would it alter his legacy? Hell, I’d get him a movie deal.
But what if Keats’s fixation on the morbid physicality of death and on sites of corporeal decomposition was not (or was not only) anticipatory of his own imminent passing, but was in fact informed by his own intimate experience digging in freshly rumpled graveyard soil? What if Keats personally got his hands dirty in the illicit nocturnal economy of procuring fresh corpses for medical schools, such as Guy’s Hospital in London, where he had enrolled as a student in October 1815? How would that alter the way we perceive him, his life, and his extraordinary literary legacy?