Lyrical Ballads – Samuel Taylor Coleridge / William Wordsworth
The Ballad as a humble literary type had a certain vogue towards the end of the eighteenth century. It covered the crudest realism as well as the most fantastical romance, and varied in style and treatment as widely as in subject-matter and level of culture. But it hardly held full rank as serious poetry. It was not considered to belong to the literature of culture, but rather to the ruder poetry of the common people. Hence the very title of the new ‘experiment’, Lyrical Ballads, marked somewhat emphatically the limited pretensions of the supposed single author. In this volume Coleridge as well as Wordsworth joined literary forces.
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Biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (from wikipedia)
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on William Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. Coleridge coined many familiar words and phrases, including suspension of disbelief. He had a major influence on Ralph Waldo Emerson and on American transcendentalism.
Throughout his adult life Coleridge had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression; it has been speculated that he had bipolar disorder, which had not been defined during his lifetime. He was physically unhealthy, which may have stemmed from a bout of rheumatic fever and other childhood illnesses. He was treated for these conditions with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.
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