Coleridge was educated at Christ’s Hospital school in London and Jesus College, Cambridge University where his poetry was first recognized. In the late 1790s, he developed a close and collaborative friendship with William Wordsworth, a fellow romantic poet. Together they published Lyrical Ballads in 1798, a collection of 23 poems that included Wordsworth “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, which were considered key to the development of Romantic poetry. In addition to producing memorable poetry, Coleridge became an expert literary critic, especially on Shakespeare, and influenced and inspired the work of emerging writers and poets such as Thomas Carlyle and Lord Byron.
Coleridge married in 1795, but spent much of the next decade living near and traveling with Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy. Suffering from rheumatic pains, he became addicted to opium as a pain reliever and moved in with this surgeon, James Gilman, in 1816, to preserve his health. During this time, he composed many non-fiction works and continued writing to his death in 1834. Romanticism was always a movement about youth and today Coleridge is remembered primarily for the poems he wrote while still is his twenties.