Breaking Away: Coleridge in Scotland

Breaking Away: Coleridge in Scotland

by Carol Kyros Walker


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When Samuel Taylor Coleridge set out on a tour of Scotland with his friends William and Dorothy Wordsworth in the summer of 1803, his wits were as sharp as ever but his health, professional career, marriage, and friendship with William and his sister Dorothy were in a deteriorating state. On the fifteenth day of their travels, the Wordsworths and Coleridge parted ways, ostensibly so that Coleridge could return home. Instead he pursued his own Scottish tour, finding pleasure in his solitude, speed, and endurance.

This book draws on Coleridge’s letters and notebooks to look at his travels with the Wordsworths from his own point of view and to record and photograph the journey he experienced after he parted from them. Carol Kyros Walker, editor of Dorothy Wordsworth’s own Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland, now retraces Coleridge’s very different Scottish tour and recounts his adventures there. In a remarkable photographic and literary essay, she argues that Coleridge’s speed (263 miles in eight days), energy, reflections, notes, and letters all betray a man of great talent who was breaking away—from the Wordsworths, from his wife, from his life in the Lake District, and from a dry phase of his writing career.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300096415
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 12/11/2002
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Carol Kyros Walker is an artist in residence at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is also the author of Walking North with Keats and editor of Dorothy Wordsworth’s Reminiscences of a Tour in Scotland, both published by Yale University Press.

Table of Contents

Schedule and Itinerary25
Photographic Retracing of the Tour33
The Travel Literature129
Scottish Notes131
Great Hall, Keswick to Gretna Green, Scotland131
To Dumfries, following the River Nith to Mennock, across the Lowther Hills through Mining Country to Crawfordjohn, following the River Clyde to Lanark135
Lanark, Falls of the Clyde, and onward toward Glasgow140
Glasgow to Loch Lomond144
From Arrochar onto Separate Ways152
Crossing at Ballachulish, following the Line of the Forts North160
Routing South from Inverness through the Grampian Highlands to Perth and Edinburgh172
Letters of the Scottish Tour179
Letter 1To His Wife181
Letter 2To His Wife182
Letter 3To Robert Southey184
Letter 4To His Wife186
Letter 5To A. Welles190
Letter 6To Robert Southey192
Letter 7To Thomas Wedgwood196
Select Bibliography197

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