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Unity and divergence: The literary philosophy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in opposition to the English romantics

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's point of origin.
  3. Unpacking the layers of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's theories of creativity.
  4. This understanding of nature and self.
  5. The empiricist model of the tabula rasa.
  6. The central focus of Coleridge's criticism of Wordsworth's poetry.
  7. Conclusion.

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. [...]


[...] The whole of Coleridge's criticism of Wordsworth seems to say, only the Real Wordsworth had endeavored to incorporate the dynamism of the Ideal Wordsworth.? It seems, at the end of these comparisons, that for all his attention to reconciliation and fusion of opposites, Samuel Taylor Coleridge stands alone. He has his contemporaries and his influences, but he cannot fit into any of their groupings without creating philosophical cacophony. The greatest creative kinship in the world of literature for Coleridge since Coleridge is not in any particular movement, but in an individual who shares his fundamental apart-ness. [...]

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