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Down to the Sunless Sea

A Troubled Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the Mediterranean

Andrew and Suzanne Edwards are the authors of Sicily: A Literary Guide for Travellers and Andalucia: A Literary Guide for Travellers, works that take the reader through the literature and landscape of both regions. In addition, Andrew is the translator of Borges in Sicily.

Down to the Sunless Sea: A Troubled Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the Mediterranean explores the time Coleridge spent in Gibraltar, Malta, Sicily and mainland Italy, where he had planned to recover his health, escape the clutches of opium and gain inspiration from the landscape; however, the reality would prove very different. 

After his short sojourn in Gibraltar, Coleridge arrived in Malta, where he became acquainted with the British Governor, Alexander Ball. He settled into Maltese life, initially taking on the role of acting Under-Secretary. Travelling to Sicily, Coleridge embraced the island’s landscapes but was shaken to find the opium poppy was an important local crop. The Mediterranean would not prove the solution to his addiction. He visited the Consul, G. F. Leckie, and was invited to stay with him at a house on the site of Timoleon’s Roman villa. The poet visited the antiquities of Syracuse and at the opera house encountered the soprano, Anna-Cecilia Bertozzi, nearly succumbing to her charms. Back in Malta, he was offered rooms in the Treasury building (now the Casino Maltese) and took up the post of Public Secretary. Legal pronouncements in Italian bear Coleridge’s signature. Leaving behind these matters of state, he drifted through the Italian peninsula, engaging with a coterie of artistic ex-pats when in Rome. His listless, half- hearted, and financially embarrassed attempts at the Grand Tour included a narrow escape from French troops. 

Coleridge’s Mediterranean sojourn impacted on his life and writing, not to mention his health, which saw a marked decline, leading to his final years in Highgate under the roof of a friendly doctor. Down to the Sunless Sea is a literary reflection on the fact that the sun-filled Mediterranean was not the tonic he had first imagined.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-125-2
Paperback Price: £22.95 / $29.95
Release Date: September 2022
Page Extent / Format: 200 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: Yes 




The Illustrations



Departure on the Speedwell



Strategising for Nelson in Malta



Sicily and the Prima Donna



A Hand in Maltese Affairs



The Grand Tourist Returns Home



Lectures and Legacy





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