This volume of letters - the vast majority of which are previously unpublished - presents a remarkable, often moving, and extraordinary image of the Coleridge family during Samuel Taylor Coleridge's youth, particularly between 1772 and 1793, when the writer reached twenty-one.Revealing the strength of a family suffering repeated losses, James Engell places the Coleridge family letters in a larger biographical context, and offers a new, frank,
yet sympathetic account of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's life. The letters provide illuminating insights into the formation of his adult character and patterns of behaviour, and specific implications both
for his poetry and philosophic temperament.From a collection in the British Library never before cited, the letters are primary documents of family and social history. They encompass STC's formative relationships with his brothers and sister; the long military service of two of his brothers in India; the significant role of Molly Newbery, the family nurse; and the multiple deaths in the Coleridge family, including the suicide of Samuel Taylor's brother Frank. The Early
Family Letters will be vital reading for anyone interested in Coleridge and English Romanticism in general.
`a direct source of information about the young Coleridge from the time of his birth to his arrival at Jesus College, Cambridge.'
The Keswick Reminder
`This collection will be of great interest to students of Samuel Taylor Coleridge...The introduction is invaluable for its explanation of the complications of this fascinating larger family; larger claims for the importance of these letters for our understanding of the later life of the poet are sometimes strained.'
Times Literary Supplement
`Considered as a whole, the letters provide, as Engell notes in his introduction, valuable glimpses of English social history in the late eighteenth century.'
Nicholas Halmi, University of Toronto, The Wordsworth Circle, Autumn '96
`The Commentary on the letters is full, especially on biographical matters.'
W.J.B. Owen, RES New Series, Vol. XLVIII, No. 190 (1997)