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Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Born on October the 21st 1772 in Ottery St Mary Devonshire died on July the 25th 1834 in Highgate near London Poet philosopher and critic Coleridge stands as an influential figure of his time William Hazlitt wrote that his thoughts did not seem to come with labour and effort but as if borne on the gusts of genius and as if the wings of his imagination lifted him from off his feet and William Wordsworth called him the only wonderful man I ever knew His Lyrical Ballads written with Wordsworth heralded the English Romantic Movement and his Biographia Literaria 1817 is the most significant work of general literary criticism produced in the English Romantic period Although Coleridges poetic achievement was small in quantity his metaphysical anxiety anticipating modern existentialism has gained him reputation as an authentic visionary Coleridge was really quite a prodigy as a child A precocious reader and talker he immersed himself to the point of morbid fascination in romances and Eastern tales He is not modest about this At six years old I remember to have read Belisarius Robinson Crusoe and Philip Quarll - and then I found the Arabian Nights entertainments - one tale of which the tale of a man who was compelled to seek for a pure virgin made so deep an impression on me I had read it in the evening while my mother was mending stockings that I was haunted by spectres whenever I was in the dark - and I distinctly remember the anxious and fearful eagerness with which I used to watch the window in which the books lay - and whenever the sun lay upon them I would seize it carry it by the wall and bask and read At both school and university he continued to read voraciously particularly in works of imagination and visionary philosophy He was remembered by his schoolmates for his eloquence
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