Private Lives of the Ancient Mariner


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Private Lives of the Ancient Mariner

Coleridge and his Children

By Molly Lefebure

ISBN: 9780718893002

Due for release: 28/11/2013

“An archangel, but an archangel slightly damaged” said Charles Lamb of his oldest and closest friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

As much a family history as biography, in this gripping new work attention is focussed upon the famous poet through a detailed examination of his family life and ancestry. A striking image of Coleridge is carefully assembled from the relationships that surrounded him.

In her last published work the celebrated Coleridgean scholar, Molly Lefebure, provides profound psychological insights into Coleridge through a meticulous study of his domestic life, drawing upon a vast and unique body of knowledge gained from a lifetime’s study of the poet, and making skilful use of the letters, poems and biographies of the man himself and his family and friends.

For the first time, and with support from previously unused material, the author argues that the commonly held belief that Coleridge’s brother, Frank committed suicide in India is incorrect, instead suggesting he was killed having been chosen to lead an attack against the tyrannical leader Tippoo Sahib. For Coleridge scholars there are three chapters dedicated to an exegesis of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ which validate Lefebure’s reputation as one of the foremost Coleridgean scholars in the world.

The author traces the roots of Coleridge’s unarguably dysfunctional personality from his earliest childhood; his position as his mother’s favoured child, the loss of this status with the death of his father, and removal to the ‘Bluecoat’ school in London. Coleridge’s narcissistic depression, flamboyance, and cold-hearted, often cruel, rejection of his family and of loving attachments in general are examined in detail. The author also explores Coleridge’s careers in journalism and politics as well as poetry, in his early, heady ‘jacobin’ days, and later at the heart of the British wartime establishment at Malta. His virtual abandonment of his children and tragic disintegration under the influence of opium are included in the broad sweep of the book which also encompasses an examination of the lives of Coleridge’s children, upon whom the manipulations of the father left their destructive mark.

Private Lives of the Ancient Mariner is the distillation of the lifetime’s thought, a book that will bring huge enjoyment to any reader with an interest in the poet’s life and times.


About the Author: Molly Lefebure (1919-2013) was a wartime journalist, novelist, children’s author, writer on the topography of Cumbria, biographer, and independent scholar and lecturer. She is the author of two other works on the Coleridge family and a volume on the world of Thomas Hardy.

Lefebure was a secretary to Professor Keith Simpson (1907-1985), the renowned Home Office Pathologist and head of the Department of Forensic Medicine at Guy’s Hospital, with whom she worked during the Second World War. While surrounded by London’s crime, grime and gruesome deaths she wrote a memoire, published as ‘Evidence for the Crown’ (1955), which formed the basis for the successful television drama, ‘Murder on the Home Front’ (ITV, 2013).

About the Publisher: The Lutterworth Press has been trading since the eighteenth century and is one of the longest established and best-known independent publishers in the United Kingdom. It has been associated with James Clarke & Co. since 1984.

Related Titles:
A Thackeray Family Biography 1798-1919: Two Volume Set, by John Aplin, ISBN 9780718892265
Passion For Living: John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, by R.E. Pritchard, ISBN 9780718892999
The Web of Friendship: Nicholas Ferrar and Little Gidding, by Joyce Ransome, ISBN: 9780227173480


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