A Folio Society limited edition

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Illustrated by Harry Brockway

A collectors' edition of four poems by Coleridge with superb illustrations by wood-engraver Harry Brockway.

Limited to 1,000 copies

Published price: US$ 875.00

SHARE


The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems

From the thrilling mystical power of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ to the visionary magnificence of ‘Kubla Khan’, these poems reshaped the landscape of English poetry and ensorcelled generations of readers. Now, The Folio Society presents a collector’s edition of four immortal poems by Coleridge with superb illustrations by one of the country’s leading wood-engravers, Harry Brockway.

Production Details

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems book
  • Limited to 1,000 copies
  • Vellum quarter-binding, spine blocked in 22 carat gold, vellum tips
  • Front board blocked in four shades of foil
  • 16 coloured wood engravings tipped into the book
  • Numerous engraved tail-pieces
  • Limitation engraving signed and numbered by the artist
  • Endpapers printed letterpress with a design by Harry Brockway
  • Titling calligraphy by Stephen Raw. Poems set in 24-point Founder’s Caslon
  • Gilded top edge. Printed on Cordier Wove paper, with hand-torn edges
  • 216 pages
  • Book size: 13" x 9¾"
  • Presented in a cloth-bound solander box

Four immortal poems by the genius of Romanticism

‘The inescapable glow of the authentic visionary’
THE OXFORD COMPANION TO ENGLISH LITERATURE

The most innovative and influential of all the English Romantic poets, Coleridge was also the least prolific. Yet what force of genius is contained in his most famous works! From the thrilling mystical power of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ to the visionary magnificence of ‘Kubla Khan’, these poems reshaped the landscape of English poetry and ensorcelled generations of readers. Over the years, numerous artists have been drawn to them. Now, The Folio Society presents a collector’s edition of four immortal poems by Coleridge with superb illustrations by one of the country’s leading wood-engravers, Harry Brockway.

Coleridge stands alongside Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats as one of the principal architects of the Romantic movement. He forged new paths in poetry, philosophy and criticism, but it is his poems that have earned him pre-eminence. From Xanadu to the Ancient Mariner and the albatross, Coleridge’s poetic images have sunk deep into our cultural consciousness, while whole phrases are frequently quoted: ‘water, water every where’; ‘a sadder and a wiser man’… This edition unites four famous poems, all written early in Coleridge’s career, and exceptionally influential on later writers. Mary Shelley in Frankenstein, Bram Stoker in Dracula and Herman Melville in Moby Dick all explicitly referred to ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’.

Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.

Coleridge had his inspiration for a supernatural ballad when walking in the Quantock Hills with William and Dorothy Wordsworth. In Wordsworth’s great work The Prelude (originally entitled ‘Poem to Coleridge’), the poet recalls how Coleridge ‘in bewitching words, with happy heart/Did chant the vision of that AncientMan,/The bright-eyed mariner’. From the initial inspiration Coleridge laboured for five months, changing a traditional ballad stanza into an astonishingly flexible and musical unit of varying length with intricate internal rhyme, repetition and alliteration. Lyrical Ballads, the collaboration between Coleridge and Wordsworth, opened with ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. It became the keynote of the book, indeed of English Romanticism as a whole. Fantastical, supernatural, ballad-like but innovative in metre and rhyme – this was poetry as it had not been known before. No wonder it instigated a literary revolution.

Ah wretch! said they, the bird to slay,
That made the breeeze to blow!

The poem is a gripping supernatural tale: a voyage into a far southern sea with towering icebergs and the soaring albatross, a ghost story of curse, death and expiation. On another level it is an allegory of sin and repentance, a mystical account of man’s fall from a natural state of Grace through a symbolic killing of innocent and beautiful nature. For some critics, the mariner represents the poet himself: Coleridge wrote of his ‘Mind shipwrecked by storms of doubt, now mastless, rudderless, shattered, – pulling in the dead swell of a dark and windless Sea’. Just like the wedding guest, halted by the glittering eye of the mariner and unable to break away, the reader is entranced by this visionary poem, carried along by the beauty and passion of the language.

Christabel, Kubla Khan and The Pains of Sleep

When Lord Byron heard Coleridge recite his astonishingly powerful poem ‘Kubla Khan’, he used his considerable influence to ensure that it was published.The edition also included ‘Christabel’ and ‘The Pains of Sleep’. It was a daring decision: both ‘Christabel’ and ‘Kubla Khan’were unfinished ‘fragments’, as Coleridge named them, as well as being dream-like, with meanings that were not easy to pin down. Yet it was their very unfinished nature which made them so evocative and influential.

‘A voice and a vision, an everlasting tune in our mouths … a piece of the invisible world made visible by a sun at midnight and sliding before our eyes …’
LEIGH HUNT

‘Christabel’ is a masterpiece of Gothic imagery: owls hoot and obscure terrors lurk outside the lonely castle; a beautiful woman with a demonic soul undresses in the moonlight; in a dream, a snake coils about a white dove…Its haunting, enigmatic symbols defy easy narrative explanation, but compel readers to return again and again to the shadowy nightmare scenes of the poem. ‘Kubla Khan’ needs no introduction. Its dream-like, cadenced phrases ring in the memory of anyone who has ever read it. Coleridge’s account of its composition is perhaps the most famous in literature. After taking two grains of opium, Coleridge dreamed a vision of such intensity that when he awoke he instantly began to write the poem. Less than half way through, he was disturbed by ‘a person from Porlock’ and when he returned he was unable to recapture the remainder of his vision.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

The final poem, ‘The Pains of Sleep’, is one of Coleridge’s most personal, written during a nightmare-ridden period of withdrawal from laudanum, the drug to which he was addicted. It is an outpouring that uncovered his deepest soul, his sense of wasted promise and guilt and his desperate, childlike yearning for love.

Reviews


Please sign in to your account to leave a review for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Poems.

Review by AliceF10 on 7th Jul 2013

Text: Illustrations: Binding: Rating: 5/5

"This is the first in this series I've purchased and I'm delighted. My only regret is that I didn't buy The Wind In The Willows and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that preceded this. I do not intend to m..." [read more]

Review by OldWilf on 2nd Jul 2013

Text: Illustrations: Binding: Rating: 4/5

"Overall I was very impressed with this edition however I feel the illustrations weren't quite up to the text and binding; I would have preferred something a little less avant-garde."

Review by Bahamas on 16th Feb 2013

Text: Illustrations: Binding: Rating: 5/5

"I was very impressed when my copy arrived. The overall quality is simply amazing and Harry Brockway's engravings are great. A beautiful edition."

People who viewed this book also viewed:
Contact us
Facebook logo Twitter logo Pinterest logo Instagram logo Youtube logo

© The Folio Society 2016