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29 September 1988
The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Vol. V: Lectures 1808-1819 On Literature 
edited by R.A. Foakes.
Princeton/Routledge, 604 pp., £55, December 1987, 0 691 09872 7
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... attended William Hazlitt’s lecture on Shakespeare and Milton at the Surrey Institution, he hurried over the river to the London Philosophical Society to hear the first lecture in a new course by Coleridge. He was gratified to find there ‘a large and respectable audience – generally of very superior looking persons’. There was considerable activity on the London literary scene that month, for at ...

Alphabeted

Barbara Everett: Coleridge​ the Modernist

7 August 2003
Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection 
edited by Seamus Perry.
Oxford, 264 pp., £17.99, June 2002, 0 19 871201 4
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works I: Poems (Reading Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1608 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00483 8
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works II: Poems (Variorum Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1528 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00484 6
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works III: Plays 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1620 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 09883 2
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... and Virgil and Chaucer accompanied Stendhal and Jane Austen, Dickens and Tolstoy and Henry James; and near the end was one poem that certainly might, in its intensity, be described as ‘short’ – Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This almost token poem, a magnificent simple affair that most of us did at school, is the world’s most perfect Desert Island Disc. To name it a classic may be ...

Satanic School

Rosemary Ashton

7 May 1987
Forbidden Partners: The Incest Taboo in Modern Culture 
by James Twitchell.
Columbia, 311 pp., £15.60, December 1986, 0 231 06412 8
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Shelley and his Circle 1773-1822: Vols VII and VIII 
edited by Donald Reiman and Doucet Devin Fischer.
Harvard, 1228 pp., £71.95, October 1986, 0 674 80613 1
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Shelley’s Venomed Melody 
by Nora Crook and Derek Guiton.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £25, August 1986, 0 521 32084 4
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The Journals of Mary Shelley 1814-1844 
edited by Paula Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert.
Oxford, 735 pp., £55, March 1987, 0 19 812571 2
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Samuel Taylor ColeridgeSelected Letters 
edited by H.J. Jackson.
Oxford, 306 pp., £19.50, April 1987, 0 19 818540 5
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... also to have temporarily taken his eye off the object of his study, for he refers inexplicably to the well-known lines in the Dedication to Canto I of Don Juan thus: ‘As Byron reportedly said of Coleridge’s metaphysics, “I wish he would explain this [sic] explanation.” ’ Another way, the scholarly one, of making the past feel familiar is to collect and edit documents relating to your subjects ...

A Pride of Footnotes

Robert M. Adams

17 November 1983
The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Vol. VII: ‘Biographia Literaria’ 
edited by James Engell and Walter Jackson Bate.
Routledge/Princeton, 306 pp., £50, May 1983, 0 691 09874 3
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... The majestic new Bollingen edition of Coleridge’s collected works edges, with the Biographia Literaria edited by James Engell and Walter Jackson Bate, a bit past its halfway point. Nine of the projected 16 volumes are now in print. In addition ...
19 June 1997
The Life of Samuel Taylor​ Coleridge 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Blackwell, 480 pp., £25, December 1996, 0 631 18746 4
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ColeridgeSelected Poems 
edited by Richard Holmes.
HarperCollins, 358 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 00 255579 4
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Coleridge’s Later Poetry 
by Morton Paley.
Oxford, 147 pp., £25, June 1996, 0 19 818372 0
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A Choice of Coleridge’s Verse 
edited by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 232 pp., £7.99, March 1996, 0 571 17604 6
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... readers who deplore tuberculosis and drowning (together with rheumatic fever, arsenic and other wasters of Romantic genius), entertain a different and darker regret when they turn their attention to Coleridge, wishing, not that he had lived longer, but that he had died sooner. While no one will admit to a wish for any particular form of death – drowning, say, on the way to Malta, or an intestinal ...

Of the Mule Breed

David Bromwich: Robert Southey

21 May 1998
Robert Southey: A Life 
by Mark Storey.
Oxford, 405 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 19 811246 7
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... and had the sincerity of a chameleon. Storey, a lively narrator with a mild partiality for his hero, throws down the gauntlet just once: Southey ‘in his lifetime was on a par with Wordsworth and Coleridge – and not just because they were friends and neighbours’. To make a school you need a third, and Southey was the third Lake poet. He surely profited from the neighbourhood. Of his early ...
3 October 1985
Great Britons: 20th-Century Lives 
by Harold Oxbury.
Oxford, 371 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 19 211599 5
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The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes 
edited by Max Hastings.
Oxford, 514 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 19 214107 4
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The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain 
by Harry Hopkins.
Secker, 344 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 9780436201028
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... then a lieutenant-colonel, in minimal control of the vehicle, giving impromptu lectures on Classical matters. If only there had been, in the back seat, the equivalent of Trooper Cumberbatch (SamuelTaylorColeridge), who, one night on sentry-go, was able to tell two of his officers that the Greek text they were misquoting was not, as they thought, from Euripides but from the Oedipus of ...

Self-Management

Seamus Perry: Southey’s Genius for Repression

26 January 2006
Robert Southey: Poetical Works 1793-1810 
edited by Lynda Pratt, Tim Fulford and Daniel Sanjiv Roberts.
Pickering & Chatto, 2624 pp., £450, May 2004, 1 85196 731 1
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... On 15 June 1794, SamuelTaylorColeridge, prodigious, garrulous and chubby, his brilliant undergraduate career in tatters, set out from Cambridge in the company of a steady companion called Hucks, picturesquely intent on a walking tour of ...
21 October 1982
The Ferment of Knowledge: Studies in the Historiography of 18th-Century Science 
edited by G.S. Rousseau and R.S. Porter.
Cambridge, 500 pp., £25, November 1980, 9780521225991
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Romanticism and the Forms of Ruin 
by Thomas McFarland.
Princeton, 432 pp., £24.60, February 1981, 0 691 06437 7
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Poetry realised in Nature: Samuel Taylor Coleridge​ and Early 19th-Century Science 
by Trevor Levere.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £22.50, October 1981, 0 521 23920 6
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Coleridge 
by Richard Holmes.
Oxford, 102 pp., £1.25, March 1982, 0 19 287591 4
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Young Charles Lamb 1775-1802 
by Winifred Courtney.
Macmillan, 411 pp., £25, July 1982, 0 333 31534 0
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... comeuppance, for stealing the mature insights of 18th-century men and childishly converting them into a lot of adolescent males talking balls, the careers of Novalis, Oken and their English version, SamuelTaylorColeridge, give reasons for contentment. For those interested in other things (of which failure and confusion may form part), one important focus is the scientific centre of much Romantic ...

Regrets, Vexations, Lassitudes

Seamus Perry: Wordsworth’s Trouble

18 December 2008
William Wordsworth’s ‘The Prelude’: A Casebook 
edited by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 406 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 0 19 518092 5
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... had travelled to Germany in September, ostensibly to learn the language, but really because they had nothing better to do in England, and were happy to be swept along in the charismatic wake of SamuelTaylorColeridge, with whom they had just shared an enchanted year of poetry and talk in the Quantocks in Somerset, and who was now eager to learn about German science. The principal production of ...

Look on the Bright Side

Seamus Perry: Anna Letitia Barbauld

25 February 2010
Anna Letitia Barbauld: Voice of the Enlightenment 
by William McCarthy.
Johns Hopkins, 725 pp., £32, December 2008, 978 0 8018 9016 1
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... Until 15 or 20 years ago most students of English literature would have known one thing about Anna Letitia Barbauld, which was her appearance in a droll anecdote told by SamuelTaylorColeridge towards the end of his life and recorded in the posthumous volume of his Table Talk. ‘Mrs Barbauld told me that the only faults she found with the Ancient Mariner were – that it was improbable ...

Spaced

Michael Neve

3 September 1981
The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas de Quincey 
by Grevel Lindop.
Dent, 433 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 460 04358 7
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... both dull and menacing, in the way such guests do. Opium has come to be affiliated to that mysterious force, the ‘Romantic imagination’, particularly as manifested in the work of de Quincey and Coleridge, and can be cited as both explanation and excuse for the output – or lack of it – in these writers. It is also possible, and Grevel Lindop suggests this in his new biography, that the drug is ...
28 May 1992
Damon Runyon: A Life 
by Jimmy Breslin.
Hodder, 410 pp., £17.99, March 1992, 0 340 57034 2
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... York tales ‘only one single instance of a verb in the past tense [and] I will lay six to five that it is nothing but a misprint.’ Jimmy Breslin reckons that Runyon caught the habit either from SamuelTaylorColeridge or from listening to hoodlums testifying evasively at court hearings. A more likely bet is that he caught it from Ring Lardner, from whom he picked up several other hard-boiled/soft ...

Flirting is nice

Mary-Kay Wilmers: ‘Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace’

11 October 2012
Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace: The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady 
by Kate Summerscale.
Bloomsbury, 303 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 1 4088 1241 9
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... telling her that ‘he longed to pray, longed to believe.’ That day, Whit Sunday 1852, had been one of the best: in the morning, as Summerscale reports, ‘they talked about “great men” such as SamuelTaylorColeridge and George Combe.’ Later Edward read her a passage from an essay on the imagination by Shelley; after lunch (‘plucked pigeons laid on a bed of beef steak and baked in puff pastry ...

Guinea Pigs

Barbara Taylor: Eighteenth-Century Surveillance Culture

8 February 2007
The Spirit of Despotism: Invasions of Privacy in the 1790s 
by John Barrell.
Oxford, 278 pp., £53, January 2006, 0 19 928120 3
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... ordinary transactions of life have been interrupted – the intercourses of the closest relationships violated and impeded.’ But even in his rural retreat he was besieged by vigilantes. His friend Coleridge, also a target of attention, denounced their persecutors as a modern-day plague of frogs: ‘little low animals with chilly blood and staring eyes, that come up into our houses and bed-chambers ...

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