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Renovated house of poet Keats set to open

THE London house where John Keats wrote some of his most famous poems is to reopen this week after a 500,000 pound (US$800,000) renovation, city officials said yesterday.

Keats lived in the house near leafy Hampstead Heath between 1818 and 1820, writing "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and "Ode to a Nightingale" there.

He also courted the girl next door, Fanny Brawne, who became the love of his short life.

The house has been a museum since 1925, but was closed for refurbishment in 2007.

It reopens tomorrow, restored to its original decor and with displays of prints, drawings and the engagement ring the poet gave Brawne.

Michael Welbank, chairman of the City of London's Hampstead Heath management committee, said the house and garden had been restored "to a living environment that John Keats would have recognized almost 200 years ago."

Keats died of tuberculosis aged 25 in 1821, obscure and out of fashion, but was later recognized as one of the greatest Romantic poets.

A film by Jane Campion about the poet's relationship with Brawne, "Bright Star," premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May.


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