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


In June 1837, Sara and Henry Coleridge leased a new home at 10 Chester Place, Regent’s Park. The home, about an hour’s walk south of Hampstead, symbolized Sara’s entrance into genteel London society. At Chester Place, Sara experienced both profound loss and great accomplishment. She suffered the decline and death of her husband, the unexpected passing of her mother, and the battle with breast cancer that eventually claimed her life. Chester Place was home to grief, loneliness, and the physical and emotional pains associated with terminal illness. Despite this, Chester Place brought new opportunities, as well. Sara had access to new friends and a vibrant community of literati. Admirers of her father, the departed Sage of Highgate, called on her and, through her, paid tribute to her father’s legacy. Privately, she developed a reputation for keen literary analysis, critical religious views, and perceptive social commentary. She discussed poetry, remarked on the latest novels, and assessed her contemporaries. She used her filial authority to shape the public memory of her father. Sara studied his works, controlled access to his unpublished writings, and resolutely monitored their publication. Even those literary remains beyond her direct control—such as his unfinished magnum opus, which her father had instructed Joseph Henry Green to edit and complete—were, in many respects, subject to Sara’s guidance and demands.1


Female Author Vibrant Community Table Talk Public Memory Filial Authority 
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© Jeffrey W. Barbeau 2014

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