The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Coleridge: A Poet After Conrad's Own Heart of Darkness College

Two orphaned boys grow up to be politically-concerned authors, one a poet and one a novelist, who use their maritime literature to speak out against the prevailing ills of European society, specifically the wrongful treatment of African people. These are only a few of the similarities between the lives and works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Joseph Conrad, both British citizens—though one through birth and one through immigration. Despite the fact, however, that Coleridge’s famous poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness share vast similarities, surprisingly few scholars have approached any sort of comparison. Perhaps the explanation for this oddity is simple: no one wants to be the one to answer an obvious question; though this reasoning does not seem to hinder anyone from joining the ranks of those who have written about the anti-imperialistic sentiments of Conrad’s most famous book. Regardless of the cause for the lack of scholarship on the subject, a comparison of Coleridge’s Rime to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness will expose the kindred beliefs espoused in these two works, as well as the stylistic and thematic reflections.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the time in...

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