The book has numerous essays on philosophy.
Samuel Coleridge - Biographia Literaria chapter 15
Being fluent in German, Coleridge was one of the first major English literary figures to translate and discuss Schelling, in particular. The later chapters of the book deal with the nature of poetry and with the question of diction raised by Wordsworth. While maintaining a general agreement with Wordsworth's point of view, Coleridge elaborately refutes his principle that the language of poetry should be one taken with due exceptions from the mouths of men in real life, and that there can be no essential difference between the language of prose and of metrical composition.
A critique on the qualities of Wordsworth's poetry concludes the volume. Critics have reacted strongly to the Biographia Literaria.
Biographia Literaria by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Early reactions were that it was a demonstration of Coleridge's opiate-driven decline into ill health. Recent re-evaluations have given it more credit. While contemporary critics recognize the degree to which Coleridge borrowed from his sources with straight lifts from Schelling , they also see in the work far more structure and planning than is apparent on first glance. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Shelves: gre-prep , poetry. A mind-numbingly dull and utterly pretentious attack on the poetic principles espoused by my new hero, William Wordsworth. For someone who claims imagination is the poet's highest faculty, he uses very little imagination in his own writing. I'm definitely not a fan. Apr 23, wally rated it liked it Shelves: coleridge. Dec 15, James rated it liked it Shelves: lit-criticism , memoir , philosophy. A sort of intellectual autobiography, the Biographia contains reflections on wide range of philosophical and literary issues.
The work is long and seemingly loosely structured, and although there are autobiographical elements, it is not a straightforward or linear autobiography. Instead, it is meditative, with numerous essays on philosophy. In particular, it discusses and engages the philosophy of Immanuel Kant Samuel Taylor Coleridge completed his Biographia Literaria on September 15th in Being fluent in German, Coleridge was one of the first major English literary figures to translate and discuss Schelling, in particular.
Biographia Literaria: Biographical Sketches of my Literary Life & Opinions
In some form of irony, I feel that I lack understanding like, perhaps even more so than, the Coleridge who anonymously writes to himself within this text. This book has opened my eyes and ears to poetry and I am left feeling gratefully more knowledgeable of my ignorance than before. My ignorance is not limited to poetry but also to the classics and contemporaries discussed in this book.
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Without the editor's footnotes this volume would have been nearly indecipherable to me. Although no review is wi In some form of irony, I feel that I lack understanding like, perhaps even more so than, the Coleridge who anonymously writes to himself within this text. Although no review is without the context of the reader, more needs to be said of the book.
This is an exceptionally interesting treatise on the writing of poems and the poems of and up to that time. Particular attention is paid to the works of William Wordsworth, an acquaintance of Coleridge. Much of the discussion and critique of poems, poetry and philosophy was beyond my current knowledge, however, the clarity of language as one would expect from Coleridge after reading this book even allows novices to follow much of what is said, if only from a distance.
Please note that this is far from being a collection of poems. It is a discourse on poetry and philosophy in the context of literary theory. A fascinating experience nonetheless. An important book, but not an easy read, particularly the first half, before Coleridge sets into his thesis about what constitutes poetry an argument with the preface to Lyrical Ballads, which he persuaded Wordsworth to write , and then critiques poets of his time and of antiquity including Wordsworth and Shakespeare.
Grab a highlighter, but don't expect his prose to be as good as his poetry -- it isn't.
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Jul 24, Jessica rated it liked it Shelves: academic , classic-literature , nonfiction , essays. Coleridge's outstanding theoretical inquiry, while occasionally hard to muddle through, remains a brilliant statement of both Romantic sensibility and timeless observations of literature - as well as a real smack-down for William Wordsworth. This is where Coleridge comes into his own, even more so than his literary works. Dec 10, Meredyth rated it liked it Shelves: literary-criticism.
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This is a really important milestone in Liteary history, as it was the first real literary critique. The personal frendship and rivalry between Wordsworth and Coleridge invite the reader to speculate on some of Coleridge's observations and motives; however his insights are well argued and the publication of this work ushed in what we understand today to be Literary Theory. Jun 25, Chris rated it really liked it Recommends it for: only scholarly romantiphiles. Dec 15, Megan rated it really liked it.
Dense dopey as a laudanum dream, but when a kindly old Coleridge scholar in his last year before retirement forces you to read it through, and then again once more, infinitely rewarding. Elisabeth G. Wolfe rated it it was ok Dec 28, Kathe rated it really liked it Nov 29, Nicq Hale rated it it was amazing Sep 29, Stephanielharper rated it it was amazing Sep 20, Shannon rated it it was ok Sep 06, Afterwards, Coleridge lectured and traveled extensively, and, while battling an opium addiction, moved in with physician James Gillman in The following year Biographia Literaria , a fusion of autobiography, literary criticism, and religious and philosophical theory, was published.
In this rebuttal, Coleridge considers the elements of a poem—sound and meter, communication, pleasure, and emotional affect—as they function together. Occasion of the Lyrical Ballads, and the objects originally proposed—Preface to the second edition—The ensuing controversy, its causes and acrimony—Philosophic definitions of a poem and poetry with scholia. During the first year that Mr. Wordsworth and I were neighbors, our conversations turned frequently on the two cardinal points of poetry, the power of exciting the sympathy of the reader by a faithful adherence to the truth of nature, and the power of giving the interest of novelty by the modifying colors of imagination.
The sudden charm, which accidents of light and shade, which moon-light or sun-set diffused over a known and familiar landscape, appeared to represent the practicability of combining both. These are the poetry of nature. The thought suggested itself to which of us I do not recollect that a series of poems might be composed of two sorts. In the one, the incidents and agents were to be, in part at least, supernatural; and the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of the affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions as would naturally accompany such situations, supposing them real.
And real in this sense they have been to every human being who, from whatever source of delusion, has at any time believed himself under supernatural agency. For the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordinary life; the characters and incidents were to be such, as will be found in every village and its vicinity, where there is a meditative and feeling mind to seek after them, or to notice them, when they present themselves.
But Mr. Wordsworth added two or three poems written in his own character, in the impassioned, lofty, and sustained diction, which is characteristic of his genius.
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To the second edition he added a preface of considerable length; in which notwithstanding some passages of apparently a contrary import, he was understood to contend for the extension of this style to poetry of all kinds, and to reject as vicious and indefensible all phrases and forms of style that were not included in what he unfortunately, I think, adopting an equivocal expression called the language of real life. From this preface, prefixed to poems in which it was impossible to deny the presence of original genius, however mistaken its direction might be deemed, arose the whole long continued controversy.
For from the conjunction of perceived power with supposed heresy I explain the inveteracy and in some instances, I grieve to say, the acrimonious passions, with which the controversy has been conducted by the assailants. Had Mr. But year after year increased the number of Mr.
They were found too not in the lower classes of the reading public, but chiefly among young men of strong ability and meditative minds; and their admiration inflamed perhaps in some degree by opposition was distinguished by its intensity, I might almost say, by its religious fervor. These facts, and the intellectual energy of the author, which was more or less consciously felt, where it was outwardly and even boisterously denied, meeting with sentiments of aversion to his opinions, and of alarm at their consequences, produced an eddy of criticism, which would of itself have borne up the poems by the violence, with which it whirled them round and round.
But he has not, as far as I can discover, announced any change in his poetic creed.
At all events, considering it as the source of a controversy, in which I have been honored more than I deserve by the frequent conjunction of my name with his I think it expedient to declare once for all, in what points I coincide with his opinions, and in what points I altogether differ. The office of philosophical disquisition consists in just distinction ; while it is the privilege of the philosopher to preserve himself constantly aware, that distinction is not division. In order to obtain adequate notions of any truth, we must intellectually separate its distinguishable parts; and this is the technical process of philosophy.
But having so done, we must then restore them in our conceptions to the unity, in which they actually co-exist; and this is the result of philosophy. A poem contains the same elements as a prose composition; the difference therefore must consist in a different combination of them, in consequence of a different object proposed.