Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Image by Photograph c.1894 from Gathered Leaves: The Selected Prose of Mary Elizabeth Coleridge pub.Constable 1910 (internet archive)

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

b. 1861 d. 1907


I have walked a great while over the snow, and I am not tall nor strong. My clothes are wet, and my teeth are set, and the way was hard and long. - Mary Elizabeth Coleridge 'The Witch'


About Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Intellectually gifted Mary Coleridge was the great-grand‑niece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Her parents were impressively well connected to writers and musicians in the London of the last half of the nineteenth century.

Mary met weekly with friends in the late 1880s to discuss literature and to read their own creative work. She had already managed to place reviews and essays in various journals before her first novel, The Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, was published. Set in Germany, it is a tale full of secret societies, romance and disguise and was generally well received, as were her other historical adventure novels. She wrote poetry throughout her life, and her collection Fancy’s Following was published in 1896.

A committed Christian, Coleridge taught literature to young women at the Working Women’s College for several years. She died after contracting blood poisoning following an operation to remove her appendix.