Coleridge: Darker Reflections by Richard Holmes
The first volume of Richard Holmes's biography of Coleridge, Coleridge: Early Visions, won the 1989 Whitbread Prize for book of the year. Coleridge: Darker Reflections is the long-awaited second volume.
Richard Holmes's biography of Coleridge transforms our view of the poet of `Kubla Khan' forever. Holmes's Coleridge leaps out of these pages as the brilliant, animated and endlessly provoking poet of genius that he was.
This second volume covers the last 30 years of Coleridge's career (1804-1834) during which he travelled restlessly through the Mediterranean, returned to his old haunts in the Lake District and the West Country, and finally settled in Highgate. It was a period of domestic and professional turmoil. His marriage broke up, his opium addiction increased, he quarrelled with Wordsworth, his own son Hartley Coleridge (a gifted poet himself) became an alcoholic. And after a desperate time of transition, Coleridge re-emerged on the literary scene as a new kind of philosophical and meditative author.
From the reviews:
'One of the greatest biographies of the century. Pure joy to read, it is a shimmering portrait of the mature artist veering between brilliance and despair.' Financial Times
'This - and I can't remember ever thinking this before so strongly - is a biography to grow old with.' MIRANDA SEYMOUR, Independent