The Wordsworth Lecture: Richard Holmes and Seamus Perry on Coleridge at 250

Painting of Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Book now
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:
  • From £6 – £12 Concessions available

On one of the most fascinating figures in English literature.

This event takes place at the British Library.

Last year marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834). Although he hated birthdays and often got the date wrong, it is the ideal moment to look back at the astonishing range of his works and strange shifts in his reputation ever since.

Always remembered as the opium poet of Kubla Khan and The Ancient Mariner, Coleridge was also the passionate friend and walking companion of William and Dorothy Wordsworth, a nature writer of gleaming observation, a great public lecturer both on utopian politics and on Shakespeare’s plays, a brilliant philosopher and interpreter of European Romanticism, and a psychological master of the confessional Notebook in a quite modern way.

For the Wordsworth Trust Annual Public Lecture, Coleridgean enthusiasts Richard Holmes and Seamus Perry, chaired by Drummond Bone, explore Coleridge’s extraordinary gifts, as well as his many fragilities, and show why he is a more significant figure for us today than ever before.

Richard Holmes is a Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. His landmark books include Footsteps (1975) and two biographies: Coleridge: Early Visions (1985) and Coleridge: Darker Reflections (1998); and a study of poets and scientists working together in the Romantic period, The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (2009) which won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books.

Seamus Perry is a Fellow of Balliol College and a Professor in the Faculty of English at Oxford University. Among his publications are editions of Coleridge's Notebooks and literary criticism; Coleridge and the Uses of Division, a study of his thought; and the Coleridge volume in the British Library's Writers' Lives series.

Drummond Bone is Chair of Trustees at the Wordsworth Trust and Chair of the National Library of Scotland. He was Master of Balliol College, Oxford until April 2018, and is a former Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and Principal of Royal Holloway College, University of London. He is also a Senior Advisory Editor of the journal Romanticism, author of Byron (Writers and their Work), and Editor of The Cambridge Companion to Byron.

In association with Wordsworth Grasmere.

Wordsworth Grasmere logo

This event will not be live-streamed.

We are committed to the safety of our event bookers. Find out how we are welcoming you to the Library safely.

The British Library is a charity. Your support helps us open up a world of knowledge and inspiration for everyone. Donate today.


Name: The Wordsworth Lecture: Richard Holmes and Seamus Perry on Coleridge at 250
Where: Pigott Theatre
The Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: From £6 – £12
Concessions available
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546
Book now

* Please note that there is a £1.50 transaction fee when tickets are posted, or for telephone sales when an e-ticket is requested.