Friday, 13 November 2009

A walk in the park...

This day also celebrates a more obscure anniversary. 1797 saw Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth embark on a walking holiday in Quantock Hills in Somerset; a holiday which would produce Coleridge's most famous work, 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'. Their original idea was to create a piece of work which would provide immediate commercial success to pay for their trip, preferrably something gothic to be included in popular magazines. However, Wordsworth stated that their styles 'would not assimilate', and so it was left to Coleridge to finish the work. Five months of work produced a finished article, and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' was published in 'Lyrical Ballads' in 1798. Far from being a immediate bestseller, Coleridge's poem was criticised for being obscure and difficult to read, leading to a revised edition in 1815 in which he added marginal notes, glossing the text. The poem was succeeded by another of Coleridge's great works, 'Christabel'.

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