This is the second and final volume of Richard Holmes' very detailed biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The book covers the latter half of Coleridge's life, dealing with his escalating opium addiction, and its physical and mental consequences, his unhappy marriage to Sarah Fricker, and his deteriorating relationship with Wordsworth.
Richard Holmes paints a sympathetic picture of a lovable, very bright man who is unable to function at a consistent level in any area of his life, and who seeks refuge in opium, alcohol and philosophy. There are many moments of humour in this somewhat bleak story, which concludes with Coleridge's death in 1834. His great interest in all things continued on to his deathbed, and he spent his final hours describing the process to those around him. His last words were: "Why, I feel I could almost be witty."
This report prepared by Miranda Smith