Beddoes was five when his father died but had lived his early years surrounded by the tools and tables of his father's trade.
The next chapter in his life was spent in the comfortable and literary circle of his mother's family. The medical and the literary were the two big influences in his career and clashed in alarming ways causing him to develop a macabre and deep interest in death.
He was educated at Charterhouse school before proceeding to Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1820. It was during his time at Oxford that he wrote and published his poetry volume 'The Improvisatore' (1821), which he afterwards attempted to withdraw from the market.
In 1824 Beddoes moved to London and befriended the remainder of Shelley's circle and others who would have a marked influence on his life.
He returned to Oxford for his B.A. examinations, but, hearing that his mother had been taken ill in Florence immediately left for Italy. Sadly, by the time he arrived his mother was dead.
All accounts of Beddoes attest that his fascination with the dead, with all its rituals and occult shadowing, was marked and pronounced. He continued to write but it now takes a darker, more macabre form. His attempts at writing plays quickly fall away, his poetry seems to reflect much of his inner fears and outlook in an intense and lyrical way with voluptuous horror that is uniquely expressed.
Beddoes again returned to Oxford for his exams in 1825 but seems to have taken the decision at this point to remove himself from sight.
He now spent the next four years at the medical school at the Hanoverian university of Göttingen, pursuing both academic excellence and personal behavior that was so appalling he was eventually asked to leave. Beddoes moved location to the medical school in the Bavarian university of Würzburg and received his doctorate in 1831. By now he had also developed a passion for liberationist politics resulting in his writing many anti-establishment pamphlets, the upshot of which was his expulsion from the country by the Bavarian government in 1832.
Switzerland now became his new home. Beddoes promoted liberal causes until the political winds changed in Zürich and he left in 1839 and was back in England by the following summer. But traction in any direction was proving difficult for him.
He was back in Basel, Switzerland by 1844 and the curtain was fast drawing on his life. Despite a return to England in 1846 his behavior was becoming both wild and uncontrollable. A relationship with Konrad Degen, a baker with designs on a career as a playwright, did nothing to persuade the opinions of others that he was descending into lunacy.
Accounts now suggest that his health began to fail after coming into contact with a diseased cadaver in Frankfurt. Beddoes attempted suicide but the botched attempt resulted in gangrene and a partial amputation of the leg in October 1848.
In January 1849, Beddoes wrote to his sister professing that his physical state was due to a riding accident. At some point he now obtained a measure of the poison curare.
Thomas Lovell Beddoes died in on 26th January 1849. He was 45. A note found here described him as "food for what I am good for-worms."
For more than 20 years before his death he had worked on 'Death's Jest Book', which was published posthumously in 1850, it also included a memoir by T. F. Kelsall. This was very well received and is often regarded as a classic. His Collected Poems were published in 1851.
As a dramatist his later works received criticism but his poems were "full of thought and richness of diction", and as "masterpieces of intense feeling exquisitely expressed".
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