It is the most famous year in English poetry. Out of it cameThe Ancient Mariner and ‘Kubla Khan’, as well as Coleridge’s unmatched hymns to friendship and fatherhood, Wordsworth’s revolutionary verses inLyrical Ballads and the greatness of ‘Tintern Abbey’, his paean to the unity of soul and cosmos, love and understanding.
Bestselling and award-winning writer Adam Nicolson tells the story, almost day by day, of the year in the late 1790s that Coleridge, Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy and an ever-shifting cast of friends, dependants and acolytes spent together in the Quantock Hills in Somerset.
To a degree never shown before,The Making of Poetryexplores the idea that these poems came from this place, and that only by experiencing the physical circumstances of the year, in all weathers and all seasons, at night and at dawn, in sunlit reverie and moonlit walks, can the genesis of the poetry start to be understood.
What emerges is a portrait of these great figures as young people, troubled, ambitious, dreaming of a vision of wholeness, knowing they had greatness in them but still in urgent search of the paths towards it.