Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was a key figure in British Romanticism. Born in rural Devonshire and educated in London, Coleridge continued his studies at Jesus College, Cambridge. Idleness and debt eventually drove him to leave university and enlist in the army. At this stage in his life, Coleridge’s interest in radical politics endeared him to a man named Robert Southey, with whom he planned to establish an ideal community in America. Soon after this plan fell through, Coleridge met William Wordsworth. Their close friendship led them to collaborate on a project that would, in hindsight, mark the unofficial beginning of the British Romantic period. The 1798 publication of Lyrical Ballads was a watershed moment that sought to give new life to the stuffy poetic formalism of the eighteenth century. Coleridge’s contributions to the volume, which included “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” were moody, mysterious, and often suffused with the supernatural. Coleridge renounced the vocation of poet at the age of thirty, at which time he committed himself to philosophy, theology, and criticism. Alongside his visionary poetry, Coleridge is equally well known for his exceptional critical writing, the best of which was collected in the 1817 volume Biographia Literaria.