A Catalogue of the Library of William Wales: Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Mathematics Teacher

Bill Whelen


The imaginative origins behind Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s renowned poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

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How in the world did Samuel Taylor Coleridge, writer of one of the most dramatic poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, gain access to the countless books — rare, out-of-the-way, often the despair of collectors — which we know him to have read? This catalogue provides the answer.

Many of the books were voyage accounts that would inspire full-time students at the school who were destined for careers in the navy. Of the 185 travel accounts in this collection, Lowes named at least sixty as works he thought inspired Coleridge when he wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

This catalogue will interest readers who want to know where Coleridge found inspiration, or who study the history of science and maritime history. In the early 1950s, Australian art historian Bernard Smith stumbled across information that linked William Wales with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, explaining how Cook’s second voyage was of crucial significance for understanding the imaginative origins of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

About the author

Bill Whelen is an independent researcher. His interests include studying European expansion into the Pacific in the 18th century and its repercussions on the people of the Pacific, as well as the people of Europe. This book aims to support a neglected article written by the Australian art historian, Bernard Smith, who found that William Wales, the astronomer on Cook’s second voyage, was instrumental in influencing Samuel Taylor Coleridge when he wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Additional information

Dimensions 160 × 225 mm