Quirky Books: Coleridge's Ancient Mariner Editor Ellen Garrigues

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Coleridge's Ancient Mariner Editor Ellen Garrigues

Samuel Coleridge was born in Devonshire in the year 1772. With a lengthy life, he struggled with finances and an addiction to laudanum (an opiate). He died in 1834. Sixty-two years of life is a comparable long in comparison to his predecessors.

Coleridge's life has many paradoxes. He was born in a parish and his Father was a Priest. However, there is an implication the Coleridge was promiscuous and a prefers men. Coleridge is famous as a Poet; however, he only published a handful of poems. There is a spiritual or religious overtone to his writing; however, there is a sense of wanting to express scientific and philosophical ideals.

Ellen E. Garrigues was an Editor in the nineteenth century. I cannot find her biography. It is clear she is a person with interests in preserving the substantial poetry of her lifetime.

This poem, "Ancient Mariner," is not different from his usual work. Though the story is of a man joining a Sailing Crew, there is a distinctive subplot. It might be impossible for Coleridge to understand or write a believable plot without the use of religious imagery.

There are similarities to the Biblical Story of Job. A couple of Job's hardships include surviving a ship wreck and disastrous wedding. He was the only survivor; ergo, there is an ominous part of the story that only makes sense to Religious People. The Ancient Mariner forewarns Wedding Guest with his tale of the sea.

The language is easily understood. Several words are from Old English. Unlike Old English, the composition is mostly Modern English. Verses are rhythmic and easy to read. There is the overall plot of surviving a journey into the unknown. It has an abundance of imagery and playful nuance.

One of the key phrases for the subplot is, "Instead of the cross, the Albatross about my neck was hung." This awakening of belief in God might be an intentional reason or philosophical ideal to explain surviving wreckage that kills the other Sailors. It appears to explain a steady belief of having faith in God to endure through complications in life.

This book is a classic. It is a fun book to read because of the rise and fall of the meter and short, understandable words. It is a good example of poetic license in the eighteenth century. Poetic license was extremely formal. Though as entertaining to someone learning to read, it is insightful for Religious People and Theologians.

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Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge