Dr Peter Anderson, senior lecturer, Department of English, University of Cape Town

Samuel Taylor Coleridge has entered the collective consciousness. He is responsible for albatrosses around the neck, water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink, and words like ‘psychosomatic’. Eclipsed in his own life by Wordsworth, and by the ravages of addiction, he was nonetheless the protean force behind the project that propelled them to fame and Romanticism into the English bloodstream. This course concentrates its attention on the writing that Coleridge was producing in his politically radical youth, more or less while he and Wordsworth were fashioning their Lyrical Ballads which launched not only English Romantic poetry, but also an ongoing tradition of celebrity and collaboration.

This is a course in a cultural epoch. It will tackle the treachery of the south Atlantic, find Coleridge being read on the eastern frontier of the Cape within months of his publication and stealing into our very idea of ourselves, as people and even as South Africans. Participants who do not yet keep a notebook may learn the wild power in doing so.



1.     The French Revolution

2.     The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

3.     ‘Kubla Khan’ and encounters with the Xhosa

4.     The conversation poems

5.     Notebooks and note-booking


Recommended reading

Holmes, R. 1990. Coleridge: early visions. New York: Viking.

Holmes, R. 2005. Coleridge: darker reflections. London: Harper Perennial.

Perry, S. 2003. Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Any edition of Coleridge’s poetry will do. The poems are widely available online.


Date: 15–19 January        Venue: LT2, Kramer Law Building
Time: 5.30 pm
COURSE  FEES  Full: R510,00  Staff: R255,00  Reduced: R130,00