Samuel Taylor Coleridge (2004)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772 at Ottery St Mary, Devonshire. He was the youngest son of a clergyman. He was a student at his father's school and an avid reader.
After his father's death, in 1781, Coleridge attended at Christ's Hospital School in London, where he met lifelong friend Charles Lamb and wrote his early sonnets. Coleridge's father had always wanted his son to be a clergyman, so Samuel entered Jesus College, University of Cambridge in 1791, he focused on a future in the Church of England. Coleridge's views, however, began to change over the course of his first year at Cambridge.
At Cambridge he also accumulated a large debt, which his brothers eventually had to pay off. Financial problems continued to plague him, throughout his life, and he constantly depended on the support of others.
In 1794 he met Robert Southey and together they planned Pantisocracy (a philosophical idea, influenced by Plato's Republic), an ideal community to be founded in America, but the project collapsed after a quarrel.
Coleridge's sonnets were published in the Morning Chronicle, and in 1795 he wrote The Eolian Harp for Sara Fricker, whom he married in the same year, although the marriage was an unhappy one. He met Dorothy and William Wordsworth in 1797 and a close association developed between them.
Coleridge wrote his famous Kubla Khan in the same year, followed in 1798 by Frost at Midnight. In 1799 he and Wordsworth published the Lyrical Ballads, which marked a conscious break with eighteenth-century tradition and included one of Coleridge's greatest poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
At the end of 1799 Coleridge fell in love with Sara Hutchinson, the sister of Wordsworth's future wife. During these years Coleridge completed the second part of Christabel, also began to compile his Notebooks, daily meditations of his life.
Suffering from neuralgic and rheumatic pains, Coleridge had became addicted to opium and in 1804 he sailed to Malta in search of better health.
He worked two years as secretary to the governor of Malta, and later travelled through Sicily and Italy, returning then to England.
In 1809 he established “The Friend”, a political, literary and philosophical weekly journal, which he published regularly over the next year.
From 1808 to 1818 he gave several lectures, chiefly in London, and was considered the greatest of Shakespearean critics.
In 1810 Coleridge's friendship with Wordsworth came to crisis, and the two poets never fully returned to the relationship they had earlier.
During the following years Coleridge lived in London, on the verge of suicide. After a physical and spiritual crisis he submitted himself to a series of medical regimes to free himself from opium. He found a permanent harbour in Highgate in the household of Dr. James Gillman, and enjoyed almost legendary reputation among the younger Romantics.
He presented his literary and philosophical theories in the Biographia Literaria, published in 1817, and collected his poems in Sybilline Leaves. He wrote a number of late confessional poems and prose's works, including Aids to Reflection, published in 1825.
Coleridge died in London on July 25, 1834.
Annate: 2004 (1)