The purpose of this series is to promote the study of writing in the English language through the introduction of the major figures writing in English throughout the ages. They provide an analytical and historical framework for understanding their subjects. Samuel Taylor Coleridge has a special place in literature. Intrigued by metaphysics and science, he also produced some of the most beautiful lyrics of the Romantic period. So sweeping was his need to know - everything - he is often accused by his critics of losing sight of the particular, or failing his incredible poetic and critical gifts. Even so, Coleridge produced the "Biographia Literaria" - a key text in understanding Romanticism. His criticism of Shakespeare's work has founded modern Shakespearean studies. A sympathetic account of Coleridge's troubled life - his difficult marriage, his addiction to opium and his famed "inefficiency" - this student guide draws attention to the vast endeavour of his intellectual and artistic work, enabling the reader to understand this most beguiling and paradoxical figure.