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George Keats of Kentucky: A Life

by Lawrence M. Crutcher foreword by John E. Kleber

Availablecloth$50.00s 978-0-8131-3688-2
Topics in Kentucky History
392 pages  Pubdate: 11/30/2012  6.125 x 9.25  91 Color Photos, 2 Maps

John Keats’s biographers have rarely been fair to George Keats (1797–1841)—pushing him to the background as the younger brother, painting him as a prodigal son, or labeling him as the “business brother.” Some have even condemned him as a heartless villain who took more than his fair share of an inheritance and abandoned the ailing poet to pursue his own interests. In this authoritative biography, author Lawrence M. Crutcher demonstrates that George Keats deserves better. Crutcher traces his subject from Regency London to the American frontier, correcting the misconceptions surrounding the Keats brothers’ relationship and revealing the details of George’s remarkable life in Louisville, Kentucky.

Brilliantly illustrated with more than ninety color photographs, this engaging book reveals how George Keats embraced new business opportunities to become an important member of the developing urban community. In addition, George Keats of Kentucky offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into nineteenth-century life, commerce, and entrepreneurship in Louisville and the Bluegrass.

Lawrence Crutcher is the great-great-great-grandson of George Keats and the author of The Keats Family.

Delivers a rich, fully drawn picture of the brother of John Keats. Until now, no biographer has delved into George Keats’s life so completely. -- Carol Kyros Walker, author of Walking North with Keats

An interesting account of an Englishman coming to America in the early 19th century and making a life for himself and his family in Kentucky – his acclimation, acculturation, successes, and failures. -- James Holmberg, curator of special collections at The Filson Historical Society

"As George Keats completed the arc from being born an Englishman to American citizen, his status upgraded from orphan and working class poor in London, to cultured, leading citizen in Louisville, Kentucky. An investor in properties, board member of fourteen organizations, Keats was respected. Lawrence Crutcher, a descendant of Keats, has written a history so detailed, that investments and debts are described by their significance to the society – whether English or American.
As the reader walks with Keats down Main Street in 1819, a busy, interesting Louisville emerges; by mid-1820’s it is a city of culture, the basis of the lively city today. -- Nana Lampton, Louisville businesswoman, poet, artist

'George Keats deserves better' begins this remarkable biography by his great-great-great grandson Lawrence Crutcher. Long treated as just the brother (and a somewhat self-serving one) of the adored poet, George Keats emerges in the pages of George Keats of Kentucky not only with a brisk defense from this descendant, who refutes the received story of financial gullibility and malfeasance, but also as a compelling historical figure in his own right: an illuminating focus for the challenges of establishing a life—ultimately a prosperous life—in frontier America. Crutcher writes with engaging clarity, insight, and surefooted reference to an extraordinary archive of information, including materials and striking images published here for the first time. This is exciting, important work, no less than for putting the life of John Keats in a fresh perspective than for making a wonderfully detailed contribution to the field of nineteenth-century American studies—among the cast of characters Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, James Freeman Clarke, and John James Audubon. The copious illustrations alone are worth the price of admission but those who dive into the text will find themselves swept up by Crutcher’s fascinating adventure in historical and biographical narrative. -- Susan J. Wolfson, Professor of English, Princeton University Editor, John Keats: A Longman Cultural Edition

Winner of the inaugural Samuel W. Thomas Louisville History Book Award

Drawing upon fragmentary Keats family correspondence, legal records, personal memoirs and sketches by members of the Keats's English circle, and other archival sources in England, Crutcher untangles the complex Keats family inheritance, explains animosities among generations of the family, illumines the ineptness of those who managed the family estate, and refutes charges by some in the Keats circle that George deliberately cheated John out of his inheritance. In the process, he demonstrates that the brothers maintained a warm relationship until the poet's death, even after George moved to the United States and settled in Louisville. -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Brilliantly illustrated with more than ninety color photographs, this engaging book reveals how George Keats embraced new business opportunities to become an important member of the developing urban community. -- Broadway World

George Keats of Kentucky: A Life, stands as a valuable contribution to history and literaturre alike. -- Louisville Courier-Journal

Anyone interested in English Romantic literature, antebellum Kentucky or pre-Civil War Louisville will fin dthis book an entertaining and rewarding read. -- Bowling Green Daily News

The book sets the record straight provifding an in-depth and positive look at brother, husband, entrepreneur and an influential Kentuckian. -- Hampstead & Highgate Express

But perhaps the greatest achievement of this biography--and in all probability its mission--is to establish George Keats as a remarkable figure quite apart from his connection to one of ENgland's greatest poets. -- Washington Times

Lawrence Crutcher writes this intriguing account of the lesser-known Keats brother, who was an influential figure in his own right. Highly recommended for those interersted in the poet John Keats and Kentucky history. -- Kentucky Libraries

Now we have a study about George, a book surely detined to be the definitive of his biographies. -- Nbol-19

Provides a valuable chronology of George’s life (1797–1841) -- Publishers Weekly

Recommended for readers interested in either the history of Louisville, or for ardent admirers of John Keats. -- Library Journal

Crutcher has written a definitive biography of George Keats. He paints a vivid picture of early nineteenth century Louisville life and trans-Atlantic travel that will satisfy many readers. It will prove most useful to Keats scholars, Louisville historians, and family genealogists seeking biographies of ancestors associated with George. -- Ohio Valley History