Sir Sidney Colvin (1845-1927) was the obvious choice to write a book on John Keats (1795-1821) for the first series of English Men of Letters. At various times Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, Colvin had a long-standing interest in the poet, publishing an edition of his letters to family and friends in 1891, and later writing a longer biography, published in 1917. This introduction to the poet, which used print and manuscript sources not available to earlier biographers, was first published in 1887. In his preface, Colvin admits that 'I have not attempted to avoid saying over again much that in substance has been said already, and better, by others ... I hope to have contributed something of my own towards a fuller understanding both of Keats's art and life'.
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