We’re really excited about Malcolm Guite’s fascinating new biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which is shaped and structured around the story he himself tells in his most famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. This is an overdue re-evaluation of Coleridge which goes far beyond mere biography. Malcolm will be reading from his book, and discussing his perspective on Coleridge.
About the book
Though the Mariner was written in 1797 when Coleridge was only twenty-five, it was an astonishingly prescient poem. As Coleridge himself came to realise much later, this tale – of a journey that starts in high hopes and good spirits, but leads to a profound encounter with human fallibility, darkness, alienation, loneliness and dread, before coming home to a renewal of faith and vocation – was to be the shape of his own life. In this rich new biography, academic, priest and poet Malcolm Guite draws out how with an uncanny clarity, image after image and event after event in the poem became emblems of what Coleridge was later to suffer and discover.
Of course The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is more than just an individual’s story: it is also a profound exploration of the human condition and, as Coleridge says in his gloss, our ‘loneliness and fixedness’. But the poem also offers hope, release, and recovery; and Guite also draws out the continuing relevance of Coleridge’s life and writing to our own time.
About the author
Malcolm Guite, a poet, theologian, and song-writer, is the Chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge where he also teaches for the Divinity Faculty. He lectures widely in England and North America on theology and literature. He has published poetry, theology, and literary criticism, and worked as a librettist. He is married with two children. Living in Cambridge allows him to indulge his passions for old books, old pubs and live music. He also enjoys sailing, walking, and all the varieties of the English countryside and weather.