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The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Critical Biography Paperback – January 6, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

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"A fine addition to the biographical attempt to catch the complex and elusive figure of Coleridge. The volume is notable for its aliveness, its signal success in giving us a living breathing human being." Professor Thomas McFarland, Princeton University

"This book provides the student or general reader with an excellent critical introduction to Coleridge's life and work. Ashton has a gift for elucidating difficult concepts in clear and straightforward language. I can think of no better single volume Coleridge biography." Duncan Wu, University of Glasgow

"This is a stimulating study of a man of many obvious talents." Alan Bold, The Herald

"Ashton writes lucidly, and the book will be accessible to the layman and student as well as useful to the card-carrying Coleridge scholar; it is good, at last, to have a biography one can recommend so highly." Seamus Perry, Times Literary Supplement

"Rosemary Ashton sets store by telling the sheer story. As vitally documented narrative, altogether free from melodrama. The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a deft feat." Christopher Dicks, London Quarterly

"Here is a new biography of Coleridge that is likely to become the standard life of the poet. Rosmary Ashton's The Life of Sammuel Taylor Coleridge: A critical Biography offers a comprehensive and judicious survey of the poet's life and writings. John Strachen University of Sunderland

" Professor Ashton identifies the tangle of abilities and pursuits that ranged from poetry to criticism philosophy to politics, opium-induced imagination to sparkling conversation."

From the Back Cover

Rosemary Ashton’s acclaimed biography presents Samuel Taylor Coleridge – poet, critic, thinker, plagiarist, cultural omnivore, enchanting companion, feckless husband, fabled conversationalist, guilt-ridden opium addict – in all his complexity. Ashton shows how Coleridge’s writings in verse and prose are especially directly expressive of his opinions and emotions and traces his development through friendship and marriage.

An authority on nineteenth-century Anglo-German cultural relations, she maps and measures the profound influence of German philosophy upon Coleridge’s thinking and theorizing in illuminating detail, thus placing Coleridge’s reputation within the context of both British and German Romanticism.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (January 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631207546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631207542
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,955,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I am writing this review prior to having read the entire book, which I definitely do not normally do, and do not recommend. However, I wish to present a "second opinion" in response to a review that rated this excellent book at only 2 stars, with an accompanying review that I think quite unfairly devalues this book (calling into question its accuracy, the quality of its writing, and its author.'s fairness to her subject) I have made responding comments beneath that other review, and refer the interested reader there for now; I will complete this review when I have finished the book--but on initial exposure, I find it to be a worthy, even-handed, and thorough treatment of Coleridge's life. I would compare Ms. Ashton's 1-volume approach about equally with Richard Holmes' admirable 2-volume treatment (only the first volume of which I have read so far; the second volume of which I'm now working through). Coleridge scholarship is voluminous; I would say that for any but the most advanced scholar, this will serve admirably as a complete and quite detailed introduction to the man, his work in many areas (not limited to the literary), and his complex personal life and psychology.
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