S.T. Coleridge studied in London and cambridge, but he didn’t get his degree. He was positive to the French Revolution but after the disappointment he got from it, he plans an utopic community, but the project failed. In 1797 he met Wordsworth and collaborated with him. Most of his poetry belongs to these years:
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798 ): the first poem from Lyrical Ballads, that became along with the Preface to his second edition, the Manifesto of English Romanticism;
- Christabel, an un finished poem, set in Middle Ages, starring a girl victim of a witch’s spell, written in 1797 but published in 1816;
- Kubla Khan, unfinished, a fragment of 54 verses written in 1798 and published in 1816. Probably written under opium effect, Coleridge describes this fragment as a dream of a psychological curiosity.
Coleridge underlined imagination’s role as the absolute creative power. He distinguished between “primary imagination” that was a fusion between perception and individual power, and “secondary imagination” that was poetic faculty.
Coleridge didn’t identify nature with the divine but saw it as the projection of real world in the Ideas in time’s flux. In that way Coleridge believed that natural images brought with them abstract meanings.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
The ballad The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is made of seven parts, and is set in a boundless sea with days of pitiless sun, and nights lighted by the moon. It’s introduced by an “Argument” that contains a brief summary of the whole poem, and it is made of two narrations: the first one, made of captions at the right of the stanzas that are the structure and that introduce the protagonist and his listener, and the second one is the poem itself.
The presence of a moral at the end of the poem, makes The Rime of the Ancient Mariner a romantic ballad. It’s a ballad because is made of dialogues and narrators, the language is archaic, full of allitterations, repetitions and nomathopeic sounds.