Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Review: Mariner: A Theological Voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Ever since reading Thomas Pfau's Minding the Modern, in which Coleridge provides a solution to the problem of modernity, I have been wondering about this Romantic poet, even to the point of checking out a few biographies from the library. But none of them "took" and I left off, until I found out that Malcolm Guite had just written the book I was asking for. This is a biography and an analysis of Coleridge's most famous poem melded and focused through a theological lens. Guite's most provocative thesis is that Coleridge's life fit the contours of his poem, and that the problems Coleridge faced were the same problems of addiction, environmental degradation, and randomness that we face today. This book is everything it should be, and it shows that Coleridge influenced all sorts of later thinkers, even providing a chapter in CS Lewis's Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We need more thinkers like Coleridge, the world needs more books like this, and I needed this book at this time. If this book accosts you like the Ancient Mariner does the listener in the poem, take heed ...

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