As a child in Florida, Caroline Alexander learnt Coleridge's masterpiece of a poem, "Kubla Khan". Coleridge recalled that it was composed in an opium sleep as he was reading about Kubla Khan. He awoke and wrote fifty-five lines of the poem before being interrupted. Scholars have ever since discussed the contemporary works that had influenced Coleridge. In "The Way to Xanadu", a literary travel book, Caroline Alexander recounts her quest across three continents to discover the sources of Coleridge's inspiration.