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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Big Read: Viewing & Discussion

Saturday, July 25 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Our Summer Reading theme asks you to imagine your story.   We invite you to experience one the most imaginative stories ever told:  Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.    

First published in 1798 when the poet was 25 years old,  Rime is the Mariner’s tale of how his act of shooting an innocent albatross brought nightmarish consequences to his ship’s entire crew.

Now the poem has been digitally imagined in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: Big Read. This project, sponsored by the Arts Institute of the University of Plymouth, brings together voices from around the world, pairing them with contemporary artworks and an evocative soundscape to create a multi-sensory immersive experience.

Three years in the making, the project was released as scheduled in March,  just as the world was beginning its own voyage into loneliness and fear.  

Readers of the poem include Jeremy Irons, Iggy Pop, and Marianne Faithfull, who bring renewed life its timeless themes of isolation, desolation, and the redemptive power of art.  Scientists and artists offer their special perspectives on the poem’s prophetic message that we deny our connection with nature at our peril.

In the spirit of the Mariner, who urges his listener to connect with others ‘in a goodly company,‘  we invite you to experience The Big Read Complete together! Our shared live viewing (via Zoom) will be enriched by the participation of Coleridge scholar Jeffrey Barbeau, and one of the chief curators of the project, Philip Hoare, who will join us live from the southwest coast of England.  Jeffrey and Philip will contribute their insights into the poet, the poem, and the monumental work of producing The Big Read.

Registration is required.  You will receive a link to join us on Zoom prior to the event.

The Ancient Mariner: Big Read can also be viewed as 40 separate videos, each featuring additional commentary and detail.

Co-curators of the project are Anglea Cockayne and Sarah Chapman.

Read more about the project!


Jeffrey Barbeau is professor of theology at Wheaton College,  associate editor The Coleridge Bulletin, and a writer on British Romanticism, religion and literature, and Methodism.   He is the author of Sara Coleridge: Her Life and Thought.



Philip Hoare is the author of many works of non-fiction, including Leviathan Or, The Whale, and The Sea Inside. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton. He is also co-curator of the Moby Dick Big Read.   He chronicles his early-morning ocean swims on Twitter @philipwhale.





What do Fleetwood Mac, Iron Maiden, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein have in common? All have referenced or paid tribute to The Rime of The Ancient Mariner!


Saturday, July 25
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
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