Talk:Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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Nothing in the article about Coleridge's shift to Toryism by 1809? He was the premier conservative philosopher in Britain during the nineteenth century, even J.S. Mill famously acknowledged him as such. It's not a negligible aspect of his legacy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:47, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

The above comment is correct. Coleridge was a very important conservative thinker of the 19th century in Britain, this deserves a mention as does the fact he was at least as influenced by the British, Christian tradition of those like Hooker, the Cambridge Platonists and Burke as he was by any German idealism. (talk) 01:55, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Though it is true that Coleridge was, in some respects, a leading conservative philosopher, I think the reason that no one has ventured much concerning his politics here is that his ideas are difficult, mixed, fragmentary, and not strictly conservative in the orthodox sense. He had his own form of conservatism, and like Ruskin, has been called a Christian socialist. David Calleo wrote a book in the 1960s called Coleridge and the Idea of the Modern State which discusses Coleridge's unique form of conservatism. I can't remember the Coleridge scholar who became famous for calling him a Christian socialist - maybe someone else can recall. Anyway, whoever tackles this subject has to be subtle and knowledgeable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kirbycairo (talkcontribs) 23:20, 2 August 2010 (UTC) Looking through my things, I realize it was Basil Willey who called Coleridge a Christian Socialist. I don't know if this is an entirely fitting description but to simply call Coleridge a conservative is, I believe, also misleading. Coleridge clearly didn't have a lot of faith in universal suffrage, but he was not fond of the aristocracy either and he despised the "Tory reactionaries" of his time. I think it is safe to say that Coleridge was a 'gradualist' who hoped that the moral and philosophical standards of the race would improve over time and allow for a much more equal and just society. However, given that the same could be said of William Godwin, it is difficult to simply say that Coleridge was a 'conservative' in the same sense that many of his contemporaries were. Though he was not a 'radical' or a republican in the sense that Paine or Hazlitt were, he was definitely 'progressive' in a number of ways that many of his contemporaries were not. [[[User:Kirbycairo|Kirbycairo]] (talk) 00:24, 8 August 2010 (UTC)]

He was only "not a Conservative" in the modern American sense of the term because the American Right is a relatively recent invention. He was certainly no fan of free-market economists. But leading British intellectuals of the time like William Hazlitt and John Stuart Mill considered him a Conservative in the context of nineteenth century Britain, and I think their judgment is more pertinent than those of revisionist scholars who chafe at acknowledging the conservative and/or right-wing views of renowned writers. For example, how come I never see anyone claim, "to simply call him a Socialist is, I believe, misleading and reductive" or something along those lines? There is just as much diversity of opinion among right-wingers as there is among left-wingers. Okay, maybe the right doesn't have anything to match the four hundred different denominations of Marxism, but you get the point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:55, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

To clarify, just because Rose Luxemburg criticized the Bolsheviks does not mean she ceased being a Marxist, just because George Orwell spent lots of time criticizing other Socialists does not mean he was not a Socialist. So just because the Tory Coleridge criticized other Tories does not mean he was not a Tory himself at the time, and attempting to compare his Tory views to the radical William Godwin on anything beyond the most superficial level is just laughable.

And while "revisionist" might be too strong a word for someone like Basil Willey, there is certainly a long history of literary critics recasting the views of famous writers to make them more "acceptable" or similar to their own. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:20, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

The above commentator certainly seems to have a serious ax to grind, and I believe an overly simplistic one. It just isn't as simple as this Unsigned comment leads us to believe. A good example of why is found in the fact that a "radical" like Tom Paine would not, by 20th century standards, be a radical because he had almost zero faith in state intervention. Given that both Coleridge and Paine (to say nothing of Hazlitt) lived before a time in which people could imagine dependable government services created on behalf of the working-class or the lumpen-proletariat, they were all suspicious of big-government because it meant something significantly different to them. I don't think just because he lived in the age, that Hazlitt had any privileged status to tell us who was or wasn't Conservative. Furthermore, Hazlitt was notoriously biased concerning Coleridge. I still contend that Coleridge was not conservative in the normal sense of the word because for most of his life he 1.Didn't trust the motives and the power of the 'ruling-class.' 2. He didn't trust nor did he seem to like the capitalist-class nor the capitalist effort. 3. He thought that society as it had evolved was profoundly unjust and this injustice had to be changed. 4. Unlike more notorious conservatives of his age Coleridge, even during his later years, was at pains to say that neglecting the needs and desires of the working-class would lead to revolution and this was perfectly understandable and even justified in Coleridge's mind. Furthermore, it is certainly not "laughable" to compare Godwin and Coleridge - they both had very similar goals and gradualist strategies. In Coleridge's 1795 lectures and his Watchman, Coleridge defined himself in contrast as well as in relation to the ideas of Godwin. They both spoke for non-violent, gradualist moral changes in society to a more just and equal system. The biggest difference was that Godwin's change was within the context of atheism and Coleridge's was in the context of Christian faith. Arguably, Godwin's radical credentials are overblown, and Coleridge's Conservative one are similarly overblown. This conversation could go on but there is not enough space here. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kirbycairo (talkcontribs) 22:09, 17 August 2010 (UTC) I came here to learn something about Coleridge's political philosophy. I find this three year old discussion about how it should probably be mentioned, but then it isn't. I bet if he was a leftist this would have been fixed instantly. Thanks Wikipedia!

article cleanup[edit]

Hello all; I just wanted to add a few ideas to help clean up the article and see what others think.

  • The "Early Life" section needs to contain less direct quotations and more biographical information from reliable sources.
  • Most of the content in "Pantisocracy and marriage" can be kept if citations can be found to support, but facts that are not verifiable need to be removed, and the strange text box in the center needs to be placed into context or removed.
  • "Later life, and increasing drug use" can be shortened and referenced. I think that the drug use issue is probably less important than the poetry that made him famous, so I would put that below his poetry section and keep the size of text dealing with that issue in proportion to the influence it had on his life and poetry.
  • The "Poetry" section can be expanded and broken into subgroups, with direct references to poems and deeper discussion of his importance. I propose individual sections for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Kahn.
  • The "Influence of Gothic" section can be wikified to remove large text quotations without relevent topic discussion and should contain info from a wider variety of sources. I think it could probably be changed to reflect more than just his influence on gothic; perhap changed to "Influence on Literatre" with a subsection on Gothic.
  • The "External Links" can probably use some trimming Mrathel (talk) 15:00, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Please let me know if you have any questions. I plan to gather sources and begin working on this by the end of the day.Mrathel (talk) 14:56, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree the quotations are overwhelming; I'd suggest we cut them all down. What about the forked article Coleridge and opium? Could that be reincorporated here (once it's sourced properly, of course)? I agree with your thoughts on the "Influence of Gothic" section needing to be broader. --Midnightdreary (talk) 15:15, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I can clean up the early life section (first, and I can work on other things later). I will come up with something and post it on the talk page for discussion. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:16, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I've taken a look at the poetry section. The problem I see on a first reading is that it is devoid of critical references, even though it sounds authoritative. I like Mrathel's suggestion of breaking out Rime & Kubla as subsections. I'm willing to take a look at the paragraph on "conversation poems" and see what can be developed from it; it's a pretty strong claim that these were his greatest influence. Perhaps this could become a subsection also. Easchiff (talk) 19:09, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
His criticism also needs a section. Biographia Literaria is a major reason why he is such a high priority in the Wiki project. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:13, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
My best efforts, I think, would be in adding citations to the biographical details. I'll focus on that. --Midnightdreary (talk) 19:34, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I am having a hard time gettings started on the "Poetry" section as trying to incorporate the current analysis into meaningful text proves difficult. I may end up scrapping the majority of the text and starting anew, as trying to categorize the current presentation of his poetry is causing my head to spin. I am trying to decide if I should arrange the poetry on a chronological basis or if I should just go by importance. Mrathel (talk) 20:15, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm also thinking that we'll end up scrapping most of the present section. It's too bad, because I think the editors knew what they were talking about. To avoid piecemeal revision, should we create a sandbox somewhere and build this section there? I've found a lot of Coleridge scholarship already just on the "conversation poems". If I'm going to work on that, it'll take me a while; I'm starting with no specific knowledge. Easchiff (talk) 20:53, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, if you pick the sandbox, I'll play in it. My internet at home has been on the fritz, so I have not gotten any work done. Also, I have found a few sources talking about Coleridge as a crtitic: Eliot in Selected Prose and Hugh Kenner in Historical Fictions. I think it would be advantageous for us to start a criticism section as well and let people unload their sources into it along with info on the poems. Mrathel (talk) 14:39, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Let's give it a try. You can find my working notes for the "Conversation Poems" at User:Easchiff/Sandbox2; feel free to add your own material, and to modify mine, as it seems convenient. At least we can share references this way! I'm sure you're correct about the need for a Criticism section, but we don't have to do it all immediately. Cheers, Easchiff (talk) 19:28, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure where to put this but the related link "Biographical essay on Coleridge by Mike Philips at the British library. Retrieved 2010-10-19" is the wrong Samuel Coleridge, and therefore a irrelevant link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:09, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

I have moved it. Thanks for flagging it up. Span (talk) 03:26, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

The relevance of his Notebooks should be mentioned.James Hercules Sutton 20:39, 4 February 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by JamesSutton (talkcontribs)

Early life[edit]

Here is part of what I have for the early life. It is about 60% finished. I should have the rest completed later. This is just to give everyone a sense. Ottava Rima (talk) 16:48, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

The below section is about 80% complete. Any suggestions or comments? Ottava Rima (talk) 19:37, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Just put it in; we can work on the bio stuff on the main space. I think the Criticism/Poetic style stuff will be harder to work on, so that makes more sense to do on a work space. Oh, and I dislike quote boxes. :) --Midnightdreary (talk) 21:49, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
If you want, we can remove the quotes completely or just make a page devoted to his early life and keep them there. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:18, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I prefer removal. I'm also worried about unnecessarily adding length to this article. Between all of us, I think we'll be able to make this pretty substantial without such long quotes. Do you use them for aesthetic purposes? --Midnightdreary (talk) 22:32, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
The article is only 30k with formatting. That places it at about 70% below normal size for these articles. Anything shorter than 80k will have cries of incomplete. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:55, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
We're already incomplete - that's why we're working on it now. --Midnightdreary (talk) 23:14, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to make an early life page like the other major poets. I'll put in a four paragraph summary of it for the main article when I am finished. Ottava Rima (talk) 23:20, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
(undenting) I strongly disagree with a forked article on early life; I think it just makes them clunky. No one's early life is so important so as to need such detail. I'm not sure which "other major poets" utilize this, but none of my featured or good articles do (many of which are poetry-related). --Midnightdreary (talk) 00:16, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Um. Samuel Johnson's early life is featured. Also, William Wordsworth, Byron, Milton, and others have pages devoted to their early lives. There are also many non-poets (such as Darwin) that have pages devoted to their early lives. This is standard for major authors. However, I'm beginning to think that I will be unable to work with you on this, as I have no faith in your knowledge of such complex articles. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:18, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'm sure my list of Wikipedia accomplishments (nevermind professional ones) are irrelevant so I won't bring them up. I also shouldn't mention that all the examples you gave of what is becoming "standard for major authors" were, in fact, articles created by you personally (does that show consensus, or an inability to follow summary style?). Regardless, I'm no longer interested in assisting in the development of this article. Good luck. --Midnightdreary (talk) 01:45, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand the sentence "He was the youngest of thirteen children, though ten of them were by his father, the Reverend John Coleridge, and a second wife." He had 10 half-sibs? Can't this all be said more clearly, if more verbosely? Myron (talk) 07:20, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

User:Ottava Rima/Samuel Coleridge's early life - If you have any doubts, verify there. He was the youngest child of the second wife. It is incomplete, but it goes into further detail on many of the problematic sections. Ottava Rima (talk) 13:19, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Early life[edit]

This is what I have so far for an early life page. It is roughly 80% done (text wise, sans images, of which there are 6/7 to add). As you can see, it focuses on important career development and nothing fluffy. Ottava Rima (talk) 01:28, 18 May 2009 (UTC)


The early life page is mostly complete (there will be a same expansion) and the new early poems are almost complete. Once I finish that set, I will work on his conversation poems and then his sonnets to eminent men. That should cover 90%+ of his notable poems before 1798. Ottava Rima (talk) 19:58, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

I've drafted a section on the Conversation poems which is just about ready to post. Please take a look at User:Easchiff/Sandbox2. Cheers, Easchiff (talk) 20:04, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Looks good. We should probably think about condensing the Harper stuff together and then expand it on a page devoted to the Conversation poems. Ottava Rima (talk) 20:21, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
Let me think about how to condense Harper; I like for a main article to give a taste of the poetry, but maybe I could cut out or shorten the quote noting Milton. At that point, and allowing for some technical work on page numbers, etc., I'd be happy to post it as a subsection under "Poetry" and let anyone else have at it. Thankfully, the reference scheme in the main article seems compatible with the one I used.
Let me know how you think we should proceed; I know you're interested in working on a real article for the Conversation poems, and I agree with you that they're certainly interesting enough for one. I still have some work to do over at Wikisource. I fixed up a few of the poems, so I think 4 of them are in decent shape. The others need some work. Easchiff (talk) 20:33, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Later life, and increasing drug use[edit]

I think this section needs to be broken down into at least two sections. Drug use can probably exist on its own, or it can be mixed into the biography less abruptly with "Later life" and "Opium Addiction and Death" sections or something of the sort. Also I don't think that the website cited for the discussion of Faustus is really the best source we can find on the subject. I appologize for my lack of support in this, but real life tends to strike when you least expect it:) Mrathel (talk) 13:35, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the insufficiency of the Faust translation reference; that webpage does list lots of primary references, however. It's a small job; perhaps I can get to it in the next few days. Your suggestions for the biographical sections seem on target to me. Cheers, Easchiff (talk) 00:46, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Discussion of plagiarism from German-language sources[edit]

There should be mention of the extent to which Coleridge copied ideas and writing(s) from German-language sources (passing them off as his own).Historian932 (talk) 18:47, 27 April 2010 (UTC)


His daughter Sara Coleridge, sons Hartley Coleridge and Derwent Coleridge, grandson Ernest Hartley Coleridge, and granddaughter Christabel Coleridge all have their own wikipedia entries which link back here, but the only mention of any of his family in this entry appears to be the linked portrait of his daughter Sara. The omission of his children and grandchildren from a general biographical article seems odd, especially as some of them edited various editions of his works, and are considered notable enough to have entries in their own right. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Filigree11 (talkcontribs) 14:08, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

The article does need more detail on the family. Please do add. Spangle (talk) 15:31, 26 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't have the required time or expertise to add a new section to the proper standard: I'm merely bringing this to the attention of the more knowledgeable people who wrote the entry.Filigree11 (talk) 10:25, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

File:Coleridge2.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Coleridge2.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on October 21, 2010. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2010-10-21. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 21:51, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

An engraving of English philosopher and poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834), most famous for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. Coleridge was a member of the Lake Poets who, with his friend William Wordsworth, founded the Romantic Movement in England. He also helped introduce German idealism to English-speaking culture and was influential on American transcendentalism (via Ralph Waldo Emerson). Throughout his adult life, Coleridge suffered from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression, which he chose to treat with opium, becoming an addict in the process. He died at age 61 due to symptoms typical of prolonged opium usage.

Engraving: Samuel Cousins; Artist: Washington Allston; Restoration: Lise Broer
ArchiveMore featured pictures...


A merge with Coleridge and opium was suggested in 2008 and it seems, never followed up. I suggest this article should also be merged with Early life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - wholly or at least partially. There is much repetition in the three. This main Coleridge article is patchy and has almost no citation. I think, putting the three together would raise it considerably. I'm not sure if Ottava Rima had been planning to go for an FA and put it on hold, but it seems we should use what we presently have and back it up with good sources where we need them. There's a lot of good work here. Thoughts? Span (talk) 21:01, 21 October 2010 (UTC)

Period in Shrewsbury[edit]

I have added a paragraph, entirely cited to An Illustrated Literary Guide to Shropshire (1987) by Gordon Dickins, detailing a period of a few months (dates December 1797-February 1798), when he also worked as locum to the Unitarian minister in Shrewsbury, reputedly read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner at a literary evening, preached a probationary sermon, met William Hazlitt, and received means to give up a ministry career.Cloptonson (talk) 20:55, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Portrait of Coleridge[edit]

The file File:Samuel Taylor Coleridge portrait.jpg doesn't look like Coleridge to me; hair too short and doesn't correspond with other contemporary portraits from 1790s. Possibly Charles Lloyd? --Jotoro (talk) 15:06, 12 October 2012 (UTC)