'There are few biographers who can claim such a long, intense engagement with their subjects as Lefebure. If she sometimes writes as though convinced she has cleared up all the complex mysteries of Coleridge's character [ - ] perhaps it's because she lived with him, metaphorically speaking, longer than his children, his wife, or any of his other biographers ever did.' --Evelyn Toynton, Pr ospect, December 2013
About the Author
Molly Lefebure (1919-2013) was a wartime journalist, novelist, children's author, writer on the topography of Cumbria, biographer, and independent scholar and lecturer. She is the author of two other works on the Coleridge family and a volume on the world of Thomas Hardy. Lefebure was a secretary to Professor Keith Simpson (1907-1985), the renowned Home Office Pathologist and head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Guy's Hospital, with whom she worked during the Second World War. While surrounded by London's crime, grime and gruesome deaths she wrote a memoire, published as 'Evidence for the Crown' (1955), which formed the basis for the successful television drama, 'Murder on the Home Front' (ITV, 2013). Having been fascinated by her work in the mortuaries, Lefebure continued at Guy's Hospital and studied drug addiction for six years, which led her to write her first biography of Coleridge - 'Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Bondage of Opium' which was published in 1974. 'Private Lives of the Ancient Mariner' is the distillation of the lifetime's thought of one who many regard as having been one of the foremost Coleridgean scholars in the world.