Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Literary Contribution

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      Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834): was Wordsworth's close associate and 'his spirit brother'. The Lyrical Ballads of 1798 were their joint product and here they divided the field of poetry between them. While Wordsworth set himself to shed the light of imagination on real life, on the most ordinary incidents and people, Coleridge planned to naturalize the supernatural and to give 'a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic faith.

Coleridge born at Ottery St. Mary in Devonshire and educated at Christ's Hospital and Cambridge, Coleridge was enisted in the Light Dragoons in France.

      Coleridge was born at Ottery St. Mary in Devonshire and educated at Christ's Hospital and Cambridge, Coleridge was enlisted in the Light Dragoons in France. In 1794 he became acquainted with Southey with whom he planned the founding of an ideal republic in America. They lived together at Bristol; here he lectured, wrote poetry and issued a newspaper called The Watchman - all with the idea of converting humanity. At this time he met Wordsworth and thus began his life-long friendship with the poet. The two friends planned their joint production of Lyrical Ballads which ushered in a new era in English poetry.

      Coleridge contributed The Ancient Mariner and three other poems to the Lyrical Ballads. Coleridge studied German philosophy on the continent, returned to England and for a time lived in the lake district with Wordsworth and Southey. In 1800 he was at Keswick and here he wrote the second part of Christabel and his Dejection ode. He also wrote the strange fragment Kubla Khan, (1798) born of an opium dream. The rest of his life was devoted to prose, to sketches of a philosophic doctrine inspired by German thinkers and the mystics, and to lectures on literary criticism. His Biographia Literaria is a most valuable work of criticism. His Lectures on Shakespeare inaugurated the era of romantic criticism of Shakespeare. He brought out the hidden beauties of Shake speare's characters. Coleridge wrote several other poems, including Frost at Midnight and Frame: An ode. In Frost at Midnight, he gave his idea of Nature similar to that of Wordsworth. But in 1802, he wrote Dejection Ode in which he laments the loss of his 'shaping spirit of imagination'. He here produced a theory of nature quite opposed to that of Wordsworth.

      "We receive but what we give". His other poems include 'Love' (1799) which depicts his romantic passion and This Lime Tree Bower my Prison first included in a letter which he wrote to Southey on 9th July, 1797. Coleridge, among the Romantic poets of England was endowed with the finest and the most versatile genius. The blossoming of his genius was brief and the fruit was rich and wonderful. His supernatural poems The Ancient Mariner, Christabel and Kubla Khan are remarkable for their intense imaginative power, witchery of languages, simplicity of diction and exquisite melody of versification. These poems transport us into an alien, supernatural world and he has done that with such artistic skill that the story creates in our mind a feeling of absolute reality. Coleridge was an 'epicure in sounds' and in The Ancient Mariner and Christabel, he reached the highest point of verbal beauty ever attained by the English lyrical genius. His perfections of style and rhythm and a refinement of sound and cadence have influenced the later poets like Keats, Tennyson and the pre-Raphaelite poets. His poetry fulfills the definition of romanticism as 'the renascence of wonder'. His play The Remorse was on the recommendation of Byron was produced in 1813 at the Drury Lane Theatre.

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