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Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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From Publishers Weekly
"It is an ancient Mariner, and he stoppeth one of thee...." Although these ominous lines perennially instill fear of final exams and term papers in the minds of high school students and Romantic English majors, they're not often remembered by adults. Mason's reading of Coleridge's 1796 epic poem is at once hypnotic and stirring. The Academy Award-nominated actor reads the chilling tale involving clashes with sea monsters, a boat swarming with zombies and a dice game with Death in an authoritative English accent. Like the ocean surrounding the Mariner's ship, his voice ebbs and flows with the imaginative poem's various heights. He quickly rattles off, "water, water, every where, and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink" but gently whispers "And I had done an hellish thing, and it would work `em woe: For all averred, I had killed the bird that made the breeze to blow." Coleridge (1772-1834), uses words to make the fantastical believable, and here, Mason brings those words vividly to life. A bonus track features Mason's animated reading of The Hunting of the Snark, an eight-canto poem by Lewis Carroll.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up-- One of the classic poems of the romantic period of English literature has been illustrated with charcoal drawings and full-color, full-page pastel seascapes by Young. Coleridge's masterpiece has much to recommend it to a modern audience because of its central theme of the importance of ``all things both great and small;'' also, the mysterious supernatural events, the skeleton ship, and the zombie crew are occult touches that will appeal to many young readers. However, Coleridge's 18th-century rhymes and references make difficult reading and, although the marginal asides are helpful, much of the religious structure of the poem and many of the archaic words remain obscure. Although they may admire Young's dramatic pictures and will certainly enjoy the rich format of the book, few 20th-century readers will persevere unaided through all seven parts of this work of penitence. Its primary audience is adults who wish to preserve and use a recognized piece of English literature by reading it aloud to a new generation of young people. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From AudioFile
The late James Mason chillingly renders Coleridge's 1798 verse fable, THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER. In rhyming couplets, an old salt tells a passing stranger of how his killing an albatross on a sea voyage led to the deaths of his crew mates and other supernatural horrors. Aside from its mystical significance and poetic brilliance, the mariner's tale is something to scare Boy Scouts with at a late night camp-out. Mason delivers that scary yarn aspect as well as other virtues in the sonorous tones for which he is justly famous. Likewise, Roy Dotrice throws himself into Lewis Carroll's mock heroic HUNTING OF THE SNARK (1867), a perfect complement--or antidote--to MARINER. Dotrice possessed some of the same skills as Mason--a beautiful voice, elegance, and a seemingly effortless skill. As exhibited here, he also can let loose with plenty of delightful silliness. This volume, like the poems themselves, will engage both children and adults. Y.R. © AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

From Kirkus Reviews
A prolific illustrator (Caldecott winner for Lon Po Po, 1989) takes on one of the 19th century's most enduring narrative poems, providing six double-spread and two single-page illustrations in glowing, impressionistic pastels plus many vignettes rendered in charcoal. From its elegant jacket--the title, gold on wine, imposed on a bird's-eye view of the ethereal albatross flying up from the ghostly ship on a turquoise and emerald sea--this is a handsome edition. The b&w drawings break the long text, helping modern readers to visualize the action and sometimes reflecting the horror, though the understated style is not intrusive and leaves one free to imagine details. The more dramatic, richly colored pastels may draw new readers to this story of ghostly adventure, terror, retribution, and penance; a few will glory in the magnificent language, and some may even take note of the message for our times: ``He prayeth best, who loveth best/ All things both great and small.'' (Poetry. 12+) -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Book Description
Why the Mariner stops three young men bidden to a wedding feast makes a fascinating and morally rich tale told in rhyme. In the seaman's story, the very simple act of shooting an albatross brings terrifying bad luck--and until the Mariner understands the meaning of what he has done, there can be no repentance. Just like the wedding guest in the poem, who feels himself compelled to listen, readers will become spellbound by the rhythm, language, and complexity of Coleridge's timeless classic. Doré's marvelous drawings capture all the mysterious atmosphere of the poem's events and many locations, from the most elegant mansions to the wild open sea.



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