Coleridge was at the forefront of introducing the Romantic movement into Britain. It sought to throw off what it saw as straight-jacketed 18th century formal, universalist orthodoxy. Instead it affirmed humans as having unique and creative abilities to discover meaning and purpose in everyday experience and nature.
In his writing Coleridge gave warning to a rapidly industrialising English middle class that they were in danger of focusing exclusively on the material aspects of life. He set out for the British public the European distinctions between REASON and UNDERSTANDING which point to a dimension of life in which imagination and the natural world play a pivotal role in our communal sense of identity, meaning, faith, spirit and vision of social justice.
Pragmatic and material elements of 18th and 19th century English culture still dominate much thinking today in the UK. Its influence is widespread not only in science but in arts, government, faith, employment practice and public thinking. Coleridge made a clarion call, claiming that pragmatic and material capacity needed to be married to strong purposive psychological elements of our imaginative, creative, aesthetic and social capacities.
He published Biographia Literaria in 1817 and Aids to Reflection in 1825. Bristol and the South West had been strong places of encouragement to him in his early career, and he lived in the Lake District for only a short period. In London he was never able to create the financial success his talents merited. On his final trip out he met with scientist Michael Faraday. Coleridge died at Highgate in 1834, nursed by friends.