When inner and outer reality collide

Coleridge’s Notebooks have been a companion during most of my mature life and this is a marvellously judged and varied selection, 1794 to 1820, from his 22nd year to his 48th. By that time he had become the loquacious Sage of Highgate, ‘an archangel, a little damaged’. To the end he was a self-observer, still making, as it were, entries in his Notebooks, although it was now up to others to write them down. On his deathbed (1834), reports Richard Holmes his biographer, he told a visitor that his mind was quite unclouded and, closing his eyes, added, with growing interest, ‘I could even be witty

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