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Autor: anton 07 November 2010
Words: 427 | Pages: 2
Meet Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Tales such as Robinson Crusoe and the Arabian Nights enthralled young Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and form an early age, he felt drawn to the worlds of fantasy and the exotic. A lonely boy, Coleridge retreated into books and his won vivid imagination where he nurtured dreams of a better future for himself.
As a boy, Coleridge spent much time alone outdoors. Once he ran away after a fight and collapsed on a riverbank, where he spent the night and almost froze to death. As a result, he contracted a painful case of rheumatism that plagued him the reset of his life. Opium was then a standard medical treatment for such a condition, and in the course of easing his persistent attacks, Coleridge grew to depend on the drug. "Yet to my fellow men," he wrote, "I may say that I was seduced in the accursed Habit ignorantly."
While at Cambridge University, Coleridge became inspired by the democratic ideals of the French Revolution. Along with several friends, including the poet Robert Southey, he joined in a scheme to establish an ideal community in the Untied States. The community would be removed from war and intolerance and would give all citizens an equal voice in the government. Coleridge, Southey, and others set up their community by the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. However, the utopian group disintegrated, and Coleridge moved with his wife and new baby to a small village in Somerset.
A turning point in Coleridge's life occurred when, at age twenty-five, he met the poet William Wordsworth. They became good friends, and Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Somerset to be near Coleridge. The two poets spent endless hours in each other's company and soon began their famous collaboration on Lyrical Ballads, which was published in 1798 and included Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. For Coleridge, this period was the happiest of his life.
By his early thirties, Coleridge had turned most of his attention to writing prose essays and treatises on literary and religious subjects. However, he did compose one more poetic masterpieceÐ’â€”"Kubla Khan." Despite illness, depression, and drug addiction, Coleridge produced an extraordinary body of work. He became the greatest literary critic of his age, known particularly for his perceptive commentary on the plays of Shakespeare and his Biographia Literaria, which contains an extended reasoned critique of Wordsworth's poems. He also became an influential philosopher, journalist, and literary theorist. The collected works of Coleridge fill volumes, although, with typical self-reproach, he faulted himself toward the end of his life for not having achieved more.