Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner
This edition of "Ancient Mariner" makes available for the first time all the versions of the poem published over thirty years in Lyrical Ballads, Sybilline Leaves, and the 1828 Poetical Works, as well as those confined to notebooks and private copies. The juxtaposition of revisions in parallel text avoid granting privilege to any one version, making Coleridge's changes evident in full detail. Tracing the complex history of the poem's publication, the accompanying commentary places this edition in the context of Romantic scholarship and raises many critical issues for the understanding of Coleridge's most widely known and studied poem. As Donald Ault comments in the Introduction, "Whereas Coleridge's 'Mariner' stood out in the early 19th century as a radical impertinence, an incommensurable text that needed to be tamed, Wallen's Mariner can celebrate its unreadable intrusion (and revision of) a critical tradition that has too easily believed that Coleridge knew what he believed."