© 2019

Coleridge's Dejection Ode


  • Reevaluates the position of Wordsworth in “Dejection: An Ode” and its political statement

  • Clarifies Coleridge’s concepts of “imagination” and “dejection”

  • Examines the second half of Coleridge’s career and his changing style


Part of the Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters book series (19CMLL)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 1-23
  3. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 47-69
  4. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 71-93
  5. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 95-120
  6. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 121-145
  7. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 147-171
  8. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 173-195
  9. J. C. C. Mays
    Pages 197-221
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 223-281

About this book


Coleridge's Dejection Ode completes J.C.C. Mays’ analysis of Coleridge’s poetry, following Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner (Palgrave 2016) and Coleridge’s Experimental Poetics (Palgrave 2013). "Dejection: An Ode" stands alone in Coleridge's oeuvre: written at a time of personal crisis, it reaches far back and deeply into his thinking in an attempt to find a poematic solution to ideas and problems he had mulled over for a long time. Mays reveals how the poem also marks the opening of the second half of Coleridge's career as both poet and thinker. In three central chapters Mays examines the new style that evolved in the process of writing the Ode: the technical means of metrics, rhyme and grammar; language and allusion; and symbol and structure. He recounts the complex, sometimes controversial critical history of the Ode, and suggests an editorial solution to the problem created by the Letter to Sara Hutchinson; re-evaluates the position of Wordsworth in the poem apropos the political statement it makes; clarifies the distinction between the views on Imagination expressed and those contained in Biographia Literaria; and traces the links of the concept "dejection" as it underpins Coleridge's late poems.



Samuel Taylor Coleridge William Wordsworth nineteenth-century literature Romanticism Romantic poet Dejection Ode Biographia Literararia Work without Hope Alice du Clós Letter to Sara Hutchinson

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University College DublinDublinIreland

About the authors

J.C.C. Mays is Professor Emeritus of English and American Literature at University College Dublin, Ireland.


Bibliographic information


“All present and future readers of Coleridge’s poetry will be indebted to Mays for having so thoroughly and incisively taken the measure of the language of Coleridge’s poetry … .” (Charles Mahoney, Studies in Romanticism, Vol. 58 (1), 2019)