Skip to main content
Shopping cart: items Cart

Distributed for Sussex Academic Press

Down to the Sunless Sea

A Troubled Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the Mediterranean

A literary reflection on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s hopes for his travels through the Mediterranean and the disastrous trip that resulted.

This book explores Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Mediterranean sojourn through Gibraltar, Malta, Sicily, and mainland Italy. Coleridge hoped that the trip would allow him to recover his health, escape the clutches of opium, and gain inspiration from the landscape. Instead, he found that little went according to plan in the Mediterranean. Following a brief stint in Gibraltar, Coleridge initially settled into Maltese life, serving as acting Under-Secretary for Alexander Ball, the Civil Commissioner of Malta. He then traveled to Sicily and embraced the island’s landscapes. Soon after arrival, however, he was shaken to discover that the opium poppy was an important local crop. Escaping the drug would not be so easy so long as he stayed on the island. From Sicily, Coleridge continued to travel throughout the Mediterranean, returning to serve as the Public Secretary of Malta before drifting across Italy in a listless attempt at a Grand Tour.
These travels through the Mediterranean significantly affected Coleridge’s life and writing, as well as his health, which saw a marked decline that eventually led to his final years in Highgate under the roof of a friendly doctor. Down to the Sunless Sea offers a poignant literary reflection on the fact that the sun-filled Mediterranean was not the tonic Coleridge first imagined.

160 pages | 6 x 9

Biography and Letters

Sussex Academic Press image

View all books from Sussex Academic Press

Table of Contents

The Illustrations

Departure on the Speedwell

Strategising for Nelson in Malta

Sicily and the Prima Donna

A Hand in Maltese Affairs

The Grand Tourist Returns Home

Lectures and Legacy


Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press