Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Notes For June 1st, 2011

This Day In Writing History

On June 1st, 1809, the famous albeit short-lived weekly literary newspaper The Friend made its debut in London. It was founded, published, edited, and written by the legendary British poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, best known for his celebrated poems The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. More than just a newspaper of literature and literary criticism, The Friend also featured articles by Coleridge on philosophy, politics, law, history, and other subjects he possessed a formidable knowledge of.

Coleridge opened his first issue of The Friend with a humorous apology explaining how hard it was to live up to the standards of other periodicals. "Excuse me therefore, gentle reader!" he wrote, "If borrowing from my title a right of anticipation, I avail myself of the privileges of a friend before I have earned them."

Although The Friend had over 500 subscribers - over two dozen of them members of Parliament - it would only last for 27 issues. Despite his brilliance as a writer, Samuel Taylor Coleridge tended to be highly disorganized and didn't have much of a head for business. He charged more than two pounds a year for a subscription, which was a ridiculously high price at the time.

Coleridge's poor business sense was the least of his problems; he was also battling an opium addiction, having used the drug to treat his rheumatism and crippling bouts of anxiety and depression. He was most likely bipolar, and suffered from mental illness most of his life.

After it ceased publication, all the issues of The Friend were republished in book form a number of times. Years after its debut, The Friend remained a highly influential work. It had a lasting effect on writers and philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Quote Of The Day

"No man was ever yet a great poet without being at the same time a profound philosopher." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Vanguard Video

Today's video features a reading of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's classic poem, Kubla Khan. Enjoy!

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