First published in 1969, this book places Coleridge’s literary criticism against the background of his philosophical thinking, examining his theories about criticism and the nature of poetry. Particular attention is paid to the structure of Biographia Literaria, Coleridge’s distinction between Imagination and Fancy, his definitions of the poetic characters of Shakespeare and Wordsworth, his analysis of the mental state of audiences in theatres, and his interpretations of Paradise Lost, Hamlet and Aeschylus’ Prometheus. The emphasis throughout is on how Coleridge thought rather than what he thought and the process rather than the conclusions of his criticism.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Key to Abbreviations; Introduction; 1 Some Biographical Circumstances 2 The Search for Principles 3 Principles in Literary Criticism 4 The Communicative Intelligence 5 The Method of Poetry – Theory 6 The Method of Poetry – Practice 7 From Criticism to Theology; Notes; Index