Mary Elizabeth Coleridge 23 September 1861 – 25 August 1907

She was a British novelist and poet, who also wrote essays and reviews. She taught at the London Working Women's College for twelve years from 1895 to 1907. She wrote poetry under the pseudonym Anodos, taken from George MacDonald; other influences on her were Richard Watson Dixon and Christina Rossetti. Robert Bridges,the Poet Laureate,described her poems as 'wonderously beautiful..but mystical rather and enigmatic'

Coleridge published five novels, the best known of those being The King with Two Faces, which earned her £900 in royalties in 1897. She travelled widely throughout her life, although her home was in London, where she lived with her family. Her father was Arthur Duke Coleridge who, along with the singer Jenny Lind, was responsible for the formation of the London Bach Choir in 1875. Other family friends included Robert Browning, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, John Millais and Fanny Kemble.

Mary Coleridge was the great-grandniece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the great niece of Sara Coleridge, the author of Phantasmion. She died from complications arising from appendicitis while on holiday in Harrogate in 1907, leaving an unfinished manuscript for her next novel, and hundreds of unpublished poems.

One of her poems, "The Blue Bird," was set to music by Charles Villiers Stanford. A family friend, the composer Hubert Parry, also set several of her poems to music.

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Comments (3)

i love her poems esp "Do not stand on my grave and weep"
I discovered Mary Coleridge in a popular anthology 'Poetry of Today' (1920, £2 at the local second hand book shop) , and I would agree that she deserves to be read more. To do my bit in spreading the word, I posted a reading of 'Where a Roman Villa Stood, Above Freiburg' at Classic Poetry Aloud. It's available to listen to (for free) at: http: //classicpoetryaloud.podomatic.com/entry/2007-09-27T00_19_37-07_00
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge is a poet who has recently been 'rediscovered' in the last few years. Several of her poems are now old favourites on university reading lists. It may not be widely known that Coleridge also wrote five novels in her short lifetime. All but one of these are out of print, but are a fascinating read and contrast sharply with her poetry. I am currently researching Coleridge's work for a Phd at the University of Hull. Mary Coleridge is someone who should be widely read.