• Peter SwaabEmail author
Living reference work entry


Sara Coleridge’s magical, episodic fairy tale Phantasmion (1837) defies brief summary. Though she intended the book to avoid overt didacticism, she defended it against charges that it wanted a moral. The book has received little by way of critical commentary, something that will hopefully change with the recent revival of interest in Sara Coleridge.

Sara Coleridge wrote her magical, episodic fairy tale Phantasmion (1837) between October 1835 and January 1836. This was an interesting, exciting, transitional moment in her life as a writer. During the previous 2 years, she had assisted her husband Henry Nelson Coleridge in editing the works of her father, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who died in July 1834; and she had also published a collection of children’s verses, Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children (1834). However, Sara’s physical and mental health were very poor in late 1835, and she wrote the book while she was “almost wholly confined to the house, or could view the...


Fairies Romance Sara Coleridge Supernatural figures Natural history Children’s fiction Imagination and utility 
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  1. Coleridge, Sara. 1834. Pretty lessons in verse for good children; with some lessons in Latin in easy rhyme. London: John W. Parker.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1837. Phantasmion. London: William Pickering.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1874. Phantasmion, a fairy tale. London: Henry S. King.Google Scholar
  4. Swaab, Peter. 2012. The regions of Sara Coleridge’s thought: Selected literary criticism. New York/Houndsmill/Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Watters, Shirley. 1997. ‘Sara Coleridge and Phantasmion’. Coleridge Bulletin n.s. 10, 22–38.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada