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Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Early Life

The son of a clergyman, Coleridge was a precocious, dreamy child. He attended Christ's Hospital school in London and was already formidably erudite upon entering Cambridge in 1791. His erratic university career was interrupted by his impulsive enlistment in the dragoons, from which his brothers managed to extricate him. In 1794 he met the poet Robert Southey, who shared his political and social idealism, and together they planned to establish a small utopian community, which they called a pantisocracy, on the banks of the Susquehanna River in the United States. The plan failed to materialize for practical reasons. In 1795 Coleridge married Sarah Fricker, the sister of Southey's fiancée, with whom he was never happy. They settled in Nether Stowey in 1797, and shortly thereafter William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved into a house nearby.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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