Coleridge, Shelley And The Roots Of Communal Living

Fiona Sampson at The Guardian:

In June 1794, Samuel Taylor Coleridge visited Oxford, and was introduced to a student poet, Robert Southey. A restless if brilliant Cambridge undergraduate, Coleridge was passing through on a summer walking tour to Wales, then in fashion for its rugged good looks. After a brief stay in Oxford, he pressed on to Snowdonia, returning through the Cambrian mountains. He turned out to be no great evoker of the picturesque: “Gloucester is a nothing-to-be-said-about town. The women have almost all of them sharp noses.”

But this hardly mattered, because his trip had become instead a chance to proselytise for a scheme the new friends had dreamed up. In a Montgomeryshire pub, for example, Coleridge claimed that “two great huge fellows of butcher-like appearance danced about the room [shouting] ‘God save the King! And may he be the last!” Their republican outburst was a response to Coleridge regaling the pub with his idea for a radical community in which everything would be held in common, partly inspired by William Godwin’s recent Enquiry Concerning Political Justice.

more here.