Coleridge and Curse
This chapter focuses on Coleridge, and his anxious regard of superstition in ‘Christabel’ and ‘The Three Graves’ as an entrammelling force; a covert system of oppression and control. Looking back at the millenarian-prophetic mode of his poetry earlier in the decade, Coleridge regretted his former lack of scepticism. ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’– a poem that registers the dangers of unquestioned belief – reveals Coleridge’s state of mind when composing his 1798 quarto. During this time of political recalibration, Coleridge would come to associate popular magic, and the dangerously incarcerating systems of superstition on which it relied, with his earlier radical beliefs – a refocusing that culminated in ‘Fears in Solitude’ and ‘France: an Ode’; recantations of his prophetic pronouncements in ‘Ode on the Departing Year’.