In his magnificent biography of Keats, Nicholas Roe chronicles a forward-looking spirit, whose poetry offered a strikingly modern amalgam of the arts and sciences. Medical allusions to nerves, arteries, bone and blood developed in tandem with deepening thoughts on human pain and suffering, says Roe. Keats's vaunted "negative capability" allowed him to engage imaginatively with life's transience and his own consumptive state (he suffered from tuberculosis and was not expected to live for long). The rueful melancholy of "To Autumn" and "Ode to a Nightingale" speaks of a courageous reckoning with mortality. Lord Byron, with customary disdain, regarded Keats as a mere dilettante of sensation and "his imagination." Roe will have little of this. The imagination at work in a poem such as "Isabella, or, the Pot of Basil" derived from Keats's professional exposure to dissecting-room corpses. As the son of a Moorfields livery stables manager, Keats knew how the poor could serve as fodder for scalpels. Hospitals were complicit in the body-snatching trade, as the science of anatomy was in its infancy and trainee surgeons were required to practice their skills.