Once Shelley said, "Keats was a Greek." What was the context? Whom did he say this to?

  • Have you done any research on this? There appear to be a few sources when searching for the quote you provided. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 12:51
  • 3
    I have done my research on Google. There is hardly any source that elaborates on the context of this statement. All sources just state the fact that it was Shelley who made this statement. Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 14:42
  • I don't think that this is such a bad question either. The original source is proving to be elusive (you have failed me, Google). I haven't seen the original source anywhere.
    – Mithical
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


The earliest version of this story appears in A New Spirit of the Age by Richard H. Horne (1844), page 196:

When somebody expressed his surprise to Shelley, that Keats, who was not very conversant with the Greek language, could write so finely and classically of their gods and goddesses, Shelley replied ‘He was a Greek.’

Horne gives no source for this anecdote. It seems very unlikely that he was his own source: Horne was born in 1802 and went to school at Edmonton near London; he was fifteen when Shelley left England for the last time in 1818.

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