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Coleridge: Early Visions v. 1 [Hardcover]

Richard Holmes
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 1989
Having visited each Coleridge haunt, the author also covers Coleridge's childhood in Devon, his formative school years at Christ's Hospital in London, his days at Jesus College, Cambridge and escape to the 15th Light Dragoons, his marriage and eventual departure for the Mediterranean.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd; 1st Edition edition (1 Nov 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340283351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340283356
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.4 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 518,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Holmes is Professor of Biographical Studies at the University of East Anglia. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, has honorary doctorates from UEA, Kingston University and the University of East London, and was awarded an OBE in 1992. His first book, 'Shelley: The Pursuit', won the Somerset Maugham Prize in 1974. 'Coleridge: Early Visions' won the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year, and 'Dr Johnson & Mr Savage' won the James Tait Black Prize. 'Coleridge: Darker Reflections' won the Duff Cooper Prize and the Heinemann Award. He has published two studies of European biography, 'Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer' in 1985, and 'Sidetracks: Explorations of a Romantic Biographer' in 2000. 'The Age of Wonder' won the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2009 in the UK, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction 2010 in the USA.

Product Description

Review

‘Dazzling… Holmes has not merely reinterpreted Coleridge; he has re-created him, and his biography has the aura of fiction, the shimmer of an authentic portrait… a biography like few I have ever read.’
James Wood, Guardian

‘A deeply moving life of a troubled genius. From a great mountain of research, Holmes has fashioned a compelling narrative which inspires considerable affection and respect for Coleridge. This stimulating book is one of the most enjoyable biographies I have read.’
Michael Shelden, Daily Telegraph

‘Coleridge lives, and talks and loves… in these pages as never before.’
Michael Foot, Independent

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

some excerpts from the British reviews:
‘Coleridge lives and talks and loves… in these pages as never before.’ MICHAEL FOOT, Independent

‘A deeply moving life of a troubled genius. Holmes has fashioned a compelling narrative which inspires considerable affection and respect for Coleridge. This stimulating book is one of the most enjoyable biographies I have read.’ MICHAEL SHELDEN, Daily Telegraph

‘If Coleridge does not leap out of these pages – brilliant, animated, endlessly provoking – and invade your imagination (as he has done mine), then I have failed to do him justice’ Richard Holmes has pursued his subject from the archives of the British Museum to the potholes of Devon and the peaks of the Hartz Mountains. This first (Whitbread prize-winning) volume of his biography transforms our view of the poet of ‘Kubla Khan’, best friend to Wordsworth, forever. Holmes brings back to life not only Coleridge’s poetry and his encyclopaedic thought, but also all his creative energy and physical presence, the very sound of his voice, his fantastic mixture of stormy ebullience and anxious self-doubt. The Romantic writer who emerges is an unforgettably vivid and unexpected figure. Coleridge: Early Visions offers a true portrait of unfolding genius, one that will echo in your mind, long after closing the book.

‘As an act of biographical re-creation, with the ghost of Coleridge hovering over the pages it seems to me nothing short of a masterpiece.’ IAN THOMPSON, Listener

‘Beautifully written and sympathetic… Holmes’ book adds to our sense of Coleridge’s greatnes, is informed by love and humour as well as research; and rises to a climax of narrative writing in the last chapters, in which you feel he has reached into the soul of his subject as every biographer hopes to, but few actually do.’ CLAIRE TOMALIN, Observer

‘Dazzling… Holmes has not merely reinterpreted Coleridge; he has recreated him, and his biography has the aura of fiction, the shimmer of an authentic portrait… a biography like few I have ever read.’ JAMES WOOD, Guardian

‘The first volume makes one impatient for the second. Holmes writes with wry empathy and sure scholarship of his wayward hero.’ GEORGE STEINER, Sunday Times, Books of the Year --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I read this book after seeing the film Pandaemonium (which deals with a highly fictionalised account of the relationship between Wordsworth and Coleridge) at the London Film Festival in November 2000. To find more inspiration and excitement from the facts of Coleridge's life, as Holmes excitingly lays them out, than from a film was a revelation, but that is what happened.
Holmes writes beautifully and with enormous sympathy for a man who made a fantastic first impression on everyone he met through his brilliance, his lightning way with words and the effulgence of his personality, but whose torments led him to alienate his closest companions and friends; a man who despite being a gifted poet was personally happier in 'normal' jobs-- as a soldier, a journalist, a government official-- than he ever was as an 'artist'. At the end of this first volume Coleridge is near death in his early thirties, has written almost all of his major poetry, although not the journalism and criticism of his later life which in some ways made a greater mark on the literary world, and Holmes thoughtfully speculates in an afterword, as to subsequent generations' view had he died young like his near-contemporaries Keats and Shelley. (Kind of like the contrast between how we view Dean and Brando...) This (along with its companion volume) is a beautifully written biography that will be given to many of my friends this Christmas.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Visionary 22 Sep 2011
By Jane Baker VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not the orthodox interpretation of Coleridge. I am not Coleridge's greatest follower but living in the West Country and writing a piece on Coleridge in a local publication every month, room guiding in Coleridge Cottage in Nether Stowey I need something to fill in my gaps. This was recommended to me and whilst I'm having to re-think my background and academic knowledge of Coleridge this is giving me fun-time in a serious groove. Extremely readable both for the student of the Romantic Poets and for those who just wish to explore the early life of Coleridge for their own fulfillment.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coleridge Early Visions 5 Aug 2012
By V Trick
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Richard Holmes writes in a way that is thoroughly accsessible and interesting to read as well as exploring his subjects in depth and with a scholarly attention to accuracy and objectivity. Coleridge had a fascinating life and Holmes brings him vividly to life and evokes a time when poets were also 'natural philosophers' i.e. scientists to us. I would reccomend this book to anyone who has an interest in poetry or the period.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 6 Jan 2011
Format:Hardcover
Excellent book deservedly well received on first publication over a decade ago. Continues the first volume and puts a great, though ultimately unfulfilled life into sharp perspective. Has some pointed criticisms of Wordsworth's behaviour to make. Recommend to anyone interested in early romantics and their world.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Coleridge: Early Visions 13 Jan 2013
By Andrew
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting and informative. The author writes very well and maintains the interest. I will be buying the second part.
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