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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


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Table of Contents

The Illustrations

ONE
Departure on the Speedwell

TWO
Strategising for Nelson in Malta

THREE
Sicily and the Prima Donna

FOUR
A Hand in Maltese Affairs

FIVE
The Grand Tourist Returns Home

SIX
Lectures and Legacy

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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