Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834) As a child, Samuel Taylor Coleridge was described as a dreamer. He was allegedly quite enthusiastic and interested in his surroundings, and very eager to learn. After his father’s death, he was sent to school in London. He eventually studied at Cambridge, and was an accomplished scholar. He eventually became bored with his studies, due to a lack of a challenge. As a result, he rapidly declined into a state of depression and worked up a great deal of debt while he was at it. He left school and joined the British Army. He was a horrible soldier, and ended up returning to Cambridge. Unfortunately this didn’t work out. In 1794, Coleridge officially became a Cambridge dropout. In the meantime, Coleridge’s rheumatism, which he had since he was young, had been flaring up. He became hooked on the drug, laudanum, which was used to treat his condition. It was a mix of opium and alcohol. Unfortunately this sent him spinning on a downward spiral, while his health deteriorated even furthermore. By 1806, he had hit rock bottom. Though he was at rock bottom personally, his career had really taken off. His literary works became the talk of London town from 1813-26. His joint publication of “Lyrical Ballads” with William Wordsworth marked the beginning of the Romantic Period in literature. Before his death in 1834 he had slowly put his life back together again. Samuel Coleridge was happier than he had been in quite some time before.
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Information: Norton Anthology: Eighth Edition: Volume 2. Website: http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/nael/18century/welcome.htm