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Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. (1772 - 1834).

L i f e

- a lifelong friend of William Wordsworth: collaborated on the Lyrical Ballads

- took laudanum for his rheumatism => became addicted, suffered both physically and psychically, quarrelled bitterly with Wordsworth

- in his last years reconciled with both his wife and Wordsworth

W o r k

- associated with the ‘Lake Poets’

- frequently adapted or adopted passages from other writers => repeatedly charged with plagiarism

- left many of his ambitious works unfinished or eked out brilliant sections with filler (Biographia Literaria)

The Fall of Robespierre. An Historic Drama (1794):

- an early radical play in collaboration with Robert Southey

Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798) = Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800, 2nd edition):

- the Preface to the 2nd edition stated the manifesto of Romanticism and the theory of new poetry

- defines poetry as ‘the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings from emotions recollected in tranquillity’

> “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:

- concerned with the voyage of discovery, both literal and figurative, and the guilt and expiation of an arbitrary ‘murderer’ of an albatross

> “Frost at Midnight”:

- a conversation poem: interrelates description and meditation in blank verse

- a fireside meditation on a larger world beyond the cottage

Biographia Literaria (1817):

- a loosely shaped series of meditations on poetry, poets, and the nature of the poetic imagination

- both original and plagiaristic, prophetic and indebted to tradition

- defines ‘fancy’ = juxtaposes images and impressions without fusing them x ‘imagination’ = actively moulds and transforms them into unity

“Dejection: An Ode” (1802):

- his last conversation poem and a farewell to health, happiness, and poetic creativity

“Kubla Khan, or, a Vision in a Dream: A Fragment” (1816):

- a visionary poem interrelating mythology, history, and religion

“Christabel” (1816):

- a ‘Gothic’ poem confronting young woman with a demonic force


(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge. (1772 - 1834). British.
  • Work

    Poet. Playwright. Literary critic and theorist. Author of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner".
  • Genres

    Romanticism. Poetry and drama.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree: / Where Alph, the sacred river, ran / Through caverns measureless to man / Down to a sunless sea."

From "Kubla Khan" (1816).


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