Samule Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772. He studied in Cambridge but he never graduated, because he was more concerned with French revolutionary politics and heavy drinking. Coleridge met the poet Robert Southey, with whom he planned to move to America and found a Pantisocracy, an ideal community with equal rights and common ownership. The project was never realised. Coleridge began writing. He became friendly with William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, with whom he established an intense friendship, very important for his literary production. Meeting Wordsworth also marked a dramatic change in Coleridge’s political ideas: after his early optimism for the French Revolution he turned conservative, because he was horrified by its violence. In 1797 Coleridge wrote one of his most famous poems, Kubla Khan. Together with Wordsworth he composed the Lyrical Ballads, which included his celebrated long poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In 1800 Coleridge settled in the Lake District, in the north-west England. He became involved in journalism and he married, but his love for another woman made him unrequited: he turned increasingly to alcohol and opium for comfort and poetic inspiration. He lived with the Wordsworths for a while, then he moved to London, where he lived for the rest of his life. He published his last works and died in 1834.