Tag Archives: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A very Victorian drug

Anita Cooke New Brunswick, Canada   Elizabeth Siddal Plaiting her Hair by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Tate Gallery London. Date unknown. Photo © Tate. CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0. On February 14, 1862, the Daily News reported the “Death of a Lady from an Overdose of Laudanum.”1 Four nights earlier, Dante Gabriel Rossetti had discovered his wife, Lizzie, in […]

Under the lime tree: medicine, poetry, and the education of the senses

Alan Bleakley Sennen, West Cornwall, United Kingdom   Portrait of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), by Peter Vandyke, 1795. Edited by Sue Bleakley. When in the summer of 1797 Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s wife Sara accidentally spilled hot milk over his foot, causing serious burns such that Coleridge could not walk, he sat in the garden of […]

Airs and graces: Humphry Davy and science as performance

Alan Bleakley Sennen, West Cornwall, United Kingdom   A cartoon featured in an 1807 dissertation by a medical student at the University of Pennsylvania on the “chemical and exhilarating effects of nitrous oxide gas.” The two figures are almost certainly Davy to the right and perhaps Beddoes to the left. Credit: Bulletin of the Society […]

Gouty quotes

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Fig. 1 A decrepit man screaming in pain from gout, rheumatism and catarrh; represented as three tormenting devils. Coloured etching by J. Cawse, 1809, after G.M. Woodward. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The recent reproduction of G. Cruikshank’s A self-indulgent man afflicted with gout by a demon burning […]

Coleridge and the albatross syndrome

Nicolás Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Contemporary portrait. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the tenth and last child of the vicar of Ottery Saint Mary near Devonshire, England, was born on October 21, 1772. In vivid letters recounting his early years he describes himself as “a genuine Sans […]

A picture of ill-health: the illness of Elizabeth Siddal

Emily Boyle Dublin, Ireland   Fig. 1 Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais 1851-2, Tate Britain, London It is difficult to think of Ophelia, one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, without bringing to mind the famous depiction of her by John Everett Millais. In Hamlet, the sensitive and fragile Ophelia is driven mad by grief after […]