Born Sept. 7, 1905, Kathleen Coburn was educated at Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto and went on to take a B.A. in 1928 and an M.A. in 1930 from the University of Toronto, and a B.Litt. from St. Hugh's College, Oxford, in 1932. After four years as Assistant to the Dean of Women at Victoria College in Toronto, she joined its Department of English in 1936 and taught there until her retirement in 1971. Shortly after World War II, Coburn discovered a great collection of unpublished manuscripts by the Romantic poet and critic S. T. Coleridge. With the support of the Coleridge estate, she embarked on a career of editing and publishing these works. She told the story of her scholarly adventures in In Pursuit of Coleridge in 1977. Many honours came her way, including a Leverhulme Award (1948), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1953), a Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada (1958), the Order of Canada (1974), and an honorary doctorate from her own university (1978).
Kathleen Coburn co-edited the selections from Coleridge with R. S. Woof for the 1963 edition of Representative Poetry.
Her portrait comes from Robin Harris' English Studies at Toronto (1988), courtesy of Victoria College.
- Coburn, Kathleen. Coleridge; A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1967. PR 4484 C57 Robarts Library
- --. Experience into Thought: Perspectives in the Coleridge Notebooks. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979. PR 4483 A252C57
- --. The Grandmothers. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1949. PS 8505 O287G7
- --. In Pursuit of Coleridge. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1977. PR 4485 C6
- --. The Self Conscious Imagination: A Study of the Coleridge Notebooks in Celebration of the Bi-centenary of his Birth 21 October 1772. London: Oxford University Press, 1974. PR 4483 A252C6
- Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. General ed., Kathleen Coburn. London: Routledge and K. Paul; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969-. PR 4470 F69
- --. Inquiring Spirit: A New Presentation of Coleridge from his Published and Unpublished Prose Writings. Ed. Kathleen Coburn. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979. PR 4472 C6 1979
- --. Notebooks. Ed. Kathleen Coburn. New York: Pantheon Books, 1957-1990. 4 vols. PR 4483 A25
- Hutchinson, Sara. Letters from 1800-1835. Ed. Kathleen Coburn. London: Routledge & Paul, 1954. PR 452 H88
SOURCES FOR CAREER
- 1991 Canadian Who's Who. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Vol. 26: 193.