Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Coleridge was born in 1772 and he died in 1834. He was the son of a clergyman (his father was a man of culture). Coleridge show a great interest in writing since he was a child. He studied at Christ’s Hospital School as charity boy and then he was able to go to Cambridge and studied there. Then he left the college because he was disappointed at not winning in a poetry contest. When he was in Cambridge he started suffering from rheumatic pains and at that time the only cure for this type of pains was opium (at that time was considered as an help for certain diseases). He was an utopian writer because he had a philosophical idea about human life, called pantisocracy. This idea consist in go away from England, go to America and found a society where at the beginning 12 men and 12 women lived together with the same rights. But this project didn’t came true. Coleridge and Wordsworth decided to travel together so they went first to German where Coleridge was impresses by the writing of Kant and the aesthetic theories of this philosopher. Coleridge and Wordsworth remained in German for a long time and then came back to England. When Coleridge was 29 he had to increase his opium doses so he became an opium addict.
He got married with one of the sister of Wordsworth’s wife and however during his marriage he went on to travelling. He went to Malta and he remained there for two years. He dedicated this time reading Shakespeare’s works plays. He came back to England in 1810. In this period he produced his best works in poetry and literary criticism. He was an intellectual and he wrote about different subjects. Some critics defined Coleridge as a fully romantic poet because he had all the characteristics of Romanticism, for example:
• for the ballad structure (a typical poetic structure of the middle age) and for the themes of his poetry;
• In many of his poems there is a medieval setting for example in “Christabel”;
• The present of mystery and supernatural which make him also a poet that follow the theory of sublime (the sense of mystery was increased by the fact that most of his poems are unfinished and also by the fact that in his poems there isn’t a final explanation of supernatural events);
• The description of nature, that had an important role for Coleridge (he see nature as a living being but he doesn’t see nature as a source of happiness or consolation);
• Musicality of his verses that was obtain through the use of alliterations, archaic language, internal rhymes, repetition ecc.
One of his most important poems is “The rime of the ancient mariner”. The story told in this poem is the story of a crime and the punishment of this crime. The story is told by the protagonist (the ancient mariner) who is condemned to travel, for the rest of his life, around the world, land by land, telling this story to the people. The aim of this poem is to teach people love and respect for all creatures of God.