Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake Poets: Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey by Thomas De Quincey
Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) described his adolescent discovery of the Lyrical Ballads of Wordsworth and Coleridge as 'an absolute revelation of untrodden worlds, teeming with power and beauty'. The admiring letter he sent to Wordsworth led to friendships with him, Coleridge and Robert Southey. Relations soured over time, though, as De Quincey's opium addiction and debts increased. Following Coleridge's death in 1834, De Quincey began writing his 'Lake Reminiscences', published serially in Tait's Magazine up to 1840. Candid, occasionally bitter, and highlighting flaws such as Coleridge's plagiarism, the recollections offended the surviving poets and their families, yet these vivid portraits attract continued scholarly interest for both the light shed on the subjects and on the author himself. The collected essays, reissued in this 1863 printing of the 1862 first edition, certainly served to confirm the Lake Poets as leading figures of English Romanticism.