Samuel Coleridge Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1772 - 1834 *** Full Name: Samuel Taylor Coleridge *** Occupation: English Poet *** Date of Birth: Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on October 21st 1772 *** Place of Birth: Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in Ottery St Mary, Devonshire, England *** *** Early life and childhood: Samuel Taylor Coleridge grew up with his parents and brothers *** Education: Samuel Taylor Coleridge attended Christ’s Hospital, a charity school *** Samuel Taylor Coleridge died on July 25, 1834.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 1: Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born on October 21, 1772. His father was the Reverend John Coleridge, a highly respected vicar in the parish and he was also the headmaster of Henry VIII’s Free Grammar School. Married twice his second wife was Anne Bowden and Samuel's mother. At the tender age of eight years Samuel's father died which meant he was sent away to school.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 2: Samuel Taylor Coleridge would continue his education at Jesus College, Cambridge but would have brief absence when he used a false name and joined the Royal Dragoons. His brothers managed to extricate him from the Royal Dragoons after several months by pleading his insanity and also managed to have him reinstated in College, although he would not receive his degree.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 3: Some of his early work included The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan and Christabel. He also wrote This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison, Frost at Midnight and The Nightingale.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 4: In 1795 Samuel Taylor Coleridge met William Wordsworth and developed a close friendship with him, so much so, they worked together on a joint project of volume of poetry, Lyrical Ballads, this tome would be the beginning of what would become the English romantic age.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 5: At one time in his life, Samuel Taylor Coleridge considered the ministry. Assisting the Reverend Toulmin in his bereavement at the tragic loss of his daughter he wrote a friend “I walked into Taunton (eleven miles) and back again, and performed the divine services for Dr Toulmin. I suppose you must have heard that his daughter (Jane, on 15 April 1798) in a melancholy derangement suffered herself to be swallowed up by the tide on the sea-coast between Sidmouth and Bere. These event cut cruelly into the hearts of old men: but the good Dr Toulmin bears it like the true practical Christian, - there is indeed a tear in his eye, but that eye is lifted up to the Heavenly Father.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 6: During December of 1797 he had cause to work in Shropshire for a short spell, helping the local Unitarian minister, Dr Rowe. At this time he was strongly considering a career change to that of joining the ministry but by the following year he had received a communication from Josiah Wedgwood II offering him assistance with monetary troubles he was having. Coleridge accepted his assistance although it came with a condition, that being that he gave up any ideas of joining the ministry, to which Coleridge duly accepted.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 7: Coleridge rejoined Wordsworth and together they traveled to Germany where he invested much of his time in university towns and would come to develop an interest in German philosophy, in particular transcendental idealism and critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant and in Gotthold Lessing and his literary criticisms.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 8: Having learnt the German language and upon his return, Samuel Taylor Coleridge translated into English the melodramatic trilogy of Wallenstein by Freidrich Schiller, a German Classical poet.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 9: By 1800 Samuel Taylor Coleridge had returned to Keswick in the Lake District and settled with his family, as it so happened Wordsworth had also settled nearby.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 10: It would not be long however before cracks began to emerge in his life, his marriage was not a happy one, he was using opium more and more and suffering nightmares and illnesses. Samuel Taylor Coleridge began to lose confidence in his ability as a poet and his relations with Wordsworth was put under a huge strain.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 11: Samuel Taylor Coleridge decided travel to warmer climes might improve his health, so travelled to Sicily and Malta in a professional capacity, however his opium addition increased and began to take his life over.Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 14: He completed several pieces of work while there, including the Biographia Literaria, an autobiographical work and dissertation on numerous subjects and still composing poetry, some as a result of opiate overdoses.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 12: Back home with his situation so grave and his addiction worsening, Samuel Taylor Coleridge took up residence in the home of his physician, Dr James Gillman. Gillman was in part effective in reducing Coleridge’s use of laudanum but was unable to cure him completely.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 13: Samuel Taylor Coleridge resided with the Gillman family for the better part of eighteen years and in that time the Gillman’s built an extension onto their home to better accommodate him.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 15: Other publications included Sibylline Leaves, Hush, Aids to Reflection and On the Constitution of the Church and State.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge Fact 16: Samuel Taylor Coleridge died on July 25, 1834, in London’s Highgate. It was suspected he died as a result of heart failure, further complicated by a lung disorder as a result of his opium addiction may have contributed to his death.
Influence and Legacy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: His influence and place in the romantic period is largely undisputed although his later career was spoiled by allegations of plagiarism both in his essays as well as his poetry. He also had a tendency to leave work unfinished. His most famous work was the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
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