Malcolm Guite has established himself as one of the leading Christian poets of our time. This positions him to offer a distinctive reading of a poetic giant of the past, S. T. Coleridge. As expected, Mariner is exceptionally rich, penetrating and absorbing.
It is difficult to suppose that there could be a more imaginative or incisive reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner; this is a visionary interpretation of a visionary poem
This is a superior life of Coleridge ... Guite has complete mastery of the primary and secondary literature [and] masterfully interweaves sections from the Mariner with episodes from Coleridge's unfolding life to both enhance our appreciation of Coleridge's poetic powers and to bring us up to speed on all that is known of his later life.
In this remarkable book, using a very close reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner as an armature, Guite attempts to make good this lacuna and to use Coleridge's evolving religion - to build up a view of the poet's visionary life...excellent and richly compelling reading.
There is much to praise in Mariner - not least that it is a 470-page book unapologetically devoted to interpreting, and celebrating, a single poem. That Guite neither sexes up his manuscript nor curbs his religious enthusiasm gives his interpretation an impressive dose of integrity.
An illuminating close reading of the poem, relating it at every point to the subsequent course of Coleridge's life, he shows us why it remains so important for our culture.
This book - which is full of judiciously chosen quotations from Coleridge's mesmerising letters and notebooks - is a splendid celebration of the grizzled figure who 'stoppeth one of three' and the tragic artist who created him.
Malcolm Guite's new biography is ingeniously structured around the Mariner...Guite has an unerring eye for the memorable anecdote... He writes with passion about Coleridge's distinctive Christian theology. Coleridge was surely one of the inspirations for Sherlock Holmes. His life would make a great movie. I wonder who should be cast as Silas Tomkyn Comberbache?
Forcefully and convincingly argued.
A profound exploration of the human condition...Guite also draws out the continuing relevance of Coleridge's life and writing to our own time.
The story of Coleridge's life does undoubtedly echo that of his poem. This is a book that provides rewarding rereadings of both.
Alongside impressive close readings of the text... a fully rounded Coleridge emerges from these pages.
Mariner is not only beautifully (and evocatively) written, it is also deeply compassionate.
It's rare for me to say this about a book, but Mariner is astonishing...I came away with an awareness that most of Coleridge's modern biographers have downplayed the man's faith, and you can't understand his great poem without understanding the faith it springs from.
Malcolm Guite has made an intriguing literary discovery... daring in its perspective and bold in its propositions... [a] fascinating investigation [that] haunts the mind long after the book is closed.
Guite is a serious and substantive critic, and there is more about Coleridge's greatest poem here than in any work published in the last quarter-century. I imagine that this book may become a classic of Christian spirituality, a text for retreats, and, if it does, it will help resurrect Coleridge's own reputation in that regard.
The 'biker priest' who revived a Christian reading of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner... found himself 'blown away' by Coleridge's account of God and creative genius.
Insightful and sympathetic commentary.
Malcolm Guite makes a case for the importance of faith to Coleridge, and his significance as a spiritual writer... The poem, according to Guite, has much to say about our own times.
Guite takes me to a depth I have not been before; I thank him for it, and I am exhilarated... Guite's masterful textual analysis is fascinating... Guite's own engagement with Coleridge is not only sympathetic and incisive, it is infectious.
an impressive piece of academic work: lengthy, scholarly, well-written and enjoyable