Timely reissue of the second volume of Holmes’s classic biographies of one of the greatest Romantic poets.
Richard Holmes’s biography of Coleridge transforms our view of the poet of ‘Kubla Khan’ forever. Holmes’s Coleridge leaps out of these pages as the brilliant, animated and endlessly provoking poet of genius that he was.
This second volume covers the last 30 years of Coleridge’s career (1804-1834) during which he travelled restlessly through the Mediterranean, returned to his old haunts in the Lake District and the West Country, and finally settled in Highgate. It was a period of domestic and professional turmoil. His marriage broke up, his opium addiction increased, he quarrelled with Wordsworth, his own son Hartley Coleridge (a gifted poet himself) became an alcoholic. And after a desperate time of transition, Coleridge re-emerged on the literary scene as a new kind of philosophical and meditative author.
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’One of the greatest biographies of the century. Pure joy to read, it is a shimmering portrait of the mature artist veering between brilliance and despair’ Financial Times
’This – and I can’t remember ever thinking this before so strongly – is a biography to grow old with’ Independent
About the author
Richard Holmes is Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia, and editor of the Harper Perennial series Classic Biographies launched in 2004. His is a Fellow of the British Academy, has honorary doctorates from UEA and the Tavistock Institute, and was awarded an OBE in 1992.
His first book, Shelley: The Pursuit, won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1974. Coleridge: Early Visions won the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year, and Dr Johnson & Mr Savage won the James Tait Black Prize. Coleridge: Darker Reflections, won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Heinemann Award. He has published two studies of European biography, Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer in 1985, and Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer in 2000.
Recent winner of England's Whitbread Prize, this first of a two-volume study of Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a work of narrative skill, outstanding scholarship and original interpretation. Unlike previous biographers who tended to dislike or mistrust Coleridge for his prevarication, unreliability, impulsiveness and desire to please and astound, Holmes ( Shelley ) admits his powerful admiration for this intense, erratic, Romantic man of letters. In addition to his straightforward biographical account, Holmes brilliantly reconsiders Coleridge's exotic poetry, his critical essays on literature, philosophy, psychology and religion, his relationships with and influence on Lamb, Southey, Wordsworth and most other writers of the period. Illustrations.