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Coleridge’s flawed genius has fascinated people for almost 200 years. His greatest poems have a quality which sets them apart from – and perhaps above – those of even his most admired Romantic contemporaries. Yet they sit oddly, too, with the bulk of his own work, seeming to spring, if not from a different sensibility, then at least from a different state of mind. Here, Ted Hughes describes the psychological ordeal which produced the supreme utterances of ‘Kubla Khan’, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Christabel, Part One’, and his choice gives us those poems in the company of others related to them. The result is a daring and radical attempt to get to the heart of Coleridge’s spiritual and poetic concerns.
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