Poem introduction

'Fears in Solitude' is one of Coleridge’s conversation poems, as they’re called - rather one-sided conversations, I think he was that kind of conversationalist - but it’s a useful term. They are in a way close to prayer and confession. This one hasn’t, over the centuries and particularly at the time, been as well received as the others. He got quite a lot of stick for it, particularly his rather vacillating, equivocating lack of resolution in the face of the French threat of Bonaparte I think. I think it’s a much more interesting and honest poem than that and I think it’s beautiful the way it comes round to its conclusion at the end here which is echoed in a number of his other conversation poems.

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