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In his introduction to this selection of Coleridge's verse, the Poet Laureate describes the psychological ordeal which produced great works such as Kubla Khan , The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Christabel .
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was born in Ottery St Mary, Devon, the youngest son of a clergyman. He was educated at Christ's Hospital School, London, where he began his friendship with Charles Lamb, and Jesus College, Cambridge. He first met Dorothy and William Wordsworth in 1797 and a close association developed between them, issuing in their groundbreaking joint publication, Lyrical Ballads, in 1799. Coleridge subsequently settled in the Lake District, and thereafter in London, where he lectured on Shakespeare and published his literary and philosophical theories in the Biographia Literaria (1817). Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was born in Yorkshire. His first book, The Hawk in the Rain, was published in 1957 by Faber & Faber and was followed by many volumes of poetry and prose for adults and children. He received the Whitbread Book of the Year for two consecutive years for his last published collections of poetry, Tales from Ovid and Birthday Letters. He was Poet Laureate from 1984, and in 1998 he was appointed to the Order of Merit.