When this work was first prepared for publication in 1949 the Notebooks and Collected Letters were still in manuscript, and many of the printed works, if not unavailable, were scarce. The continuing publication of Coleridge's works has not lessened the demand for a general introduction to Coleridge's mind and its workings.
Selections from works including The Friend, Essays on His Own Times, Aids to Reflection, the Statesman's Manual, Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit, and Table Talk, and from other lesser known works are arranged by topic. The subjects - psychology, education, language, logic and philosophy, literary criticism, the arts, science, society, religion and his contemporaries - reflect the astonishing range of Coleridge's intellectual interests. The revised edition of this anthology is still the best introduction to the prose works of an inquiring spirit.
There is a fine introductory essay, and each section has an introduction of its own. The annotation is apt, and the index efficient. The whole book, in short, has been ordered with the distinction which is characteristic of Professor Coburn.