ART & LIFE
POSTCARD BIOGRAPHIES FROM THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY: 5. T S Eliot (1888-1965) on Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
Sunday 09 February 1997
When five years old had read the Arabian Nights. Christ's Hospital and Cambridge. Metaphysician and poet. His life was ill-regulated: weak, slothful, a voracious reader, he contracted an unhappy marriage and much later the habit of taking laudanum. Described his own character in his great "Ode to Dejection" (1802). The greatest English literary critic, he was also the greatest intellectual force of his time. Probably influenced Newman, Maurice and the Young Tories; and died the guest of Mr Gillman of Highgate. T S Eliot
T S Eliot's brief sketch of Coleridge appraised his genius warmly while casting a cold eye over his personal faults. The enigmatic last comment may need an explanation. James Gillman, an apothecary of Highgate, was approached by the poet in 1816 for help with his opium addiction. STC proposed to stay in the household for one month, going cold turkey under Gillman's supervision. But even before the month was up, Coleridge was giving him the slip and procuring the drug elsewhere. This eccentric, demanding yet charming houseguest stayed on for the next 18 years, until his death; Gillman, physician, philanthropist and fan, must rank as of one of literature's most devoted patrons.
Portraits, drawings and letters from the "postcard biography" archives are on display at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2. Free.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Laurie Lee's Rosie: What is it like to inspire a writer's work and be immortalised forever on the page?
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Well this Star Wars 7 leaked set photo of Adam Driver changes everything
Pharrell Williams says that 'Blurred Lines' criticism is 'out of context'
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'