Coleridge archive is in new hands
The British Library has bought a valuable archive from the family of Samuel Taylor Coleridge that portrays the clan’s affectionate, if slightly bemused, view of its “presiding genius.”
In the nearly two centuries since Coleridge’s death, the papers have been kept by family members in the village of Ottery St. Mary in Devon, southwest England, where the creator of “Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” was born. Highlights include a previously unknown manuscript of two of Coleridge’s poems, written in his own hand, and many reminiscences of the poet in the letters and diaries of other family members.
Frances Harris, the library’s head of modern historical manuscripts, said there were more than 350 bound manuscripts and 29 cardboard boxes of loose correspondence, which will take a library staffer up to a year to catalog. The library has not announced how much it paid, but Harris called it “a significant six-figure sum.”