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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.


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


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

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