The Endymion – The 200 words project

Here’s this week’s 200 word idea from the Mastery by Robert Greene..

John Keats was 15 when both his parents passed away. He was taken out of school and enrolled to apprentice for a surgeon. Keats, however, had developed a love for poetry. So, he read as many great poems as possible during his off hours at the school library. Soon, he began writing poems in the style of these greats until he decided to quit medicine and write his own poetry.

To compete his self-apprenticeship, he decided he would write a 4000 line poem on the Greek legend Endymion. He committed to writing 50 lines a day. 75% of the way, he came to hate the poem, his flowery language, and overwriting. But, by the end of The Endymion, he had learnt to write and edit at great speed and he had hit upon a style that suited him and met his own high standards. Also, he had overcome writer’s block forever.

With these lessons, Keats went on to produce some of the finest poems in the English language in 1818 and 1819 until he took gravely ill. It was perhaps the most productive 2 years of writing in the history of western literature – all thanks to the Endymion leap..

EndymionJohn Keats’ original draft of The Endymion – source and thanks to: Wikipedia,

‘In Endymion, I leaped headlong into the sea and became better acquainted with the soundings, the quick-sands and the rocks than if I had stayed upon the green shore and took tea and comfortable advice.’ | John Keats