In this letter, written a year before his death, Coleridge speculates, as many have done since, on what might have been Dorothy’s success as a writer had she not lived in the shadow of her brother’s fame. Although she vehemently rejected any idea of herself as a serious poet, her journals and letters do reveal that ‘in a different style’ she was in fact a highly gifted poetic writer. Coleridge’s letter strikes at three of the key elements that recur in discussions about Dorothy: her devoted dedication to William, her contribution (‘absorption’) to his success and the possibility of her own success as a poet if circumstances had been more propitious.
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