200 years ago, Keats and the actor Edmund Kean

On Wednesday 17 December 1817, Keats ‘dined … with Horace Smith, and met his two brothers … They only served to convince me how superior humour is to wit, in respect to enjoyment. These men say things which make one start, without making one feel; they are all alike; their manners are alike; they all know fashionables; they have a mannerism in their very eating and drinking, in their mere handling a decanter. They talked of Kean and his low company. “Would I were with that Company instead of yours,” said I to myself!’
[John Keats: Part of a letter to George and Tom Keats 21 (?) December 1817.]

On Thursday 18 December 1817, Keats saw Edmund Kean play Luke in Sir James Bland Burges’s play ‘Riches: Or, The Wife and Brother. A Comedy’.

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