Many of the words used by S.T. Coleridge to express his critical philosophy of literature are familiar. He writes of metaphysics as well as aesthetics, beauty and pleasure, and above all, unity. His definitions of these terms, however popular the terms were, are in many ways remarkably different from his contemporaries and diverge greatly from the classical influences of his time. Though he is so often put in opposition to his literary peers for his ideological differences, the ultimate goal of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's artistic theory is to a reach a thoroughly flexible synthesis of those creative approaches which seem so disparate. Though his creative concepts do just this, it leaves him only influential and alone in the literary landscape. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's point of origin, according to those hospital and church documents available , is October 21st, 1772. Coleridge himself went much of his life insisting that he was born one day earlier and then toward the middle of his life he began to claim two whole years had been tacked on to his birth certificate.
[...] He passed from this world having concluded a life of engaging a time full of creative peers who all almost got it right. Bibliography Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Biographical Study E. K. Chambers Oxford, at the Clarend on press Letters, Conversations and Recollections of Samuel Taylor Coleridge Edited by Thomas Allsop (cited) Coleridge and Preaching a Theological Imagination Stephen Edmondson Journal of Anglican Studies, Vol No 75_94 (2005) Essay Concerning Human Understanding John Locke (1690) The Idea of Coleridge's Criticism Richard Harter Fogle University of California Press Gentleman Junkie: The Life and Legacy of [...]
[...] This distance provided Coleridge the opportunity to essentially test one of his crtitical points– the difference between the real and ideal poet. The central focus of Coleridge's criticism of Wordsworth's poetry can be basically translated as Wordsworth's successes and failures in living up to his potential. The phrasing often refers to the “ideal Wordsworth” and what made him great. Ultimately, it is (the real) Wordsworth's rigidity that causes him to fail in Coleridge's eyes. This is as much a criticism of Wordsworth's philosophy as his actual poetry. [...]
[...] Maybe, as in the myth according to the poet, his father John Coleridge was a self-made man who married at 20 and pulled himself from country to city and from rags to respectability a la Dickens. That, or maybe, as the records show, John climbed ably but unremarkably through a standard grammar school career and married at 28 around the time he attended Sidney Sussex between early careers as a school master and a chaplain priest. Why would Samuel Taylor make a myth of the man? [...]
[...] To say Samuel Taylor Coleridge is a mere mimic of his German transcendental idealist influences, though, would be to ignore his greatest contribution to the philosophy, that being the individual agency of his differentiation between Imagination and Fancy. This distinction also permanently separates Coleridge from the Lockean empiricists. In both cases, the God-like will and agency of truly creative acts is the point at which Coleridge differs. The empiricist model of the tabula rasa falls squarely into Coleridge's category of Fancy. [...]
[...] Coleridge states that, necessary tendency therefore of all natural philosophy is from nature to intelligence; and this, and no other, is the true ground and occasion of the instinctive striving to introduce theory into our views of natural phenomena. The highest perfection of natural philosophy would consist in the perfect spiritualization of all laws of nature into laws of intuition and intellect.” Here is a great moment of Coleridge's pleas for synthesis and unification of those concepts which have traditionally stood in opposition. [...]
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