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Sara Coleridge

Coleridge, Sara, later Coleridge, 1802—1852

Sara Coleridge, translator and editor, was born at Keswick, the daughter of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834; ODNB) and Sara Coleridge, née Fricker (1770-1845). As a child she saw comparatively little of her father, who was estranged from her mother and spent long periods in London. A more important presence was her uncle, Robert Southey (1774-1843; ODNB), who, with her mother, superintended her education.

It was Southey who suggested in 1818 that Sara Coleridge and her brother, Derwent Coleridge (1800-1883; ODNB), translate Martin Dobrizhoffer’s missionary travel narrative, Historia di Abiponibus (1784), published by John Murray as An Account of the Abipones: An Equestrian People of Paraguay (1822). The translation was almost wholly the work of Sara Coleridge, Derwent Coleridge having abandoned the project early on.

While Sara Coleridge made a start translating travel writing, she became known chiefly as the editor of her father’s works. She married her cousin Henry Nelson Coleridge (1798-1842; ODNB) in 1829 after a four-year private engagement, and joined him in compiling Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s posthumous Table Talk (1835) and Literary Remains (1836-39). When her husband died in 1843, she continued editing her father’s major literary works, editions to which scholars are today indebted.

After a life plagued by illnesses, depression, and opium addiction, she died on 3 May 1852, suffering from breast cancer.

Sources:

Mudge, Bradford K. ‘Coleridge, Sara (1802–1852)’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004. Online.

Texts

Title Published
Account of the Abipones, an Equestrian People of Paraguay 1822 (Translator)

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