Know Your History – 21st October – Samuel Taylor Coleridge born

know your history - writingOn this day… 21st October 1772 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge born

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 – 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher 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 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 was a major influence on Emerson and American transcendentalism.

On Writing

Samuel Taylor Coleridge wasn’t shy about his use of opium Samuel Taylor Coleridgewhen writing and even said that Kubla Khan was inspired by an opium dream. Coleridge was interrupted while writing the poem and ended up forgetting the lines he needed to complete the structure as originally intended. It wasn’t published until some 20 years later, and only then because Lord Byron encouraged it.

Did You Know?..

Coleridge appears to have been the first person to use the word ‘bipolar’, in 1810.

Which is appropriate, since some recent critics and commentators believe the poet may have suffered from bipolar disorder.

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