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.
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
Beginning with the publication of their joint collection of poems Lyrical Ballads in 1798, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were instrumental in helping to establish the Romantic Movement as a major force in nineteenth century British literature. Two of the movement’s greatest figures, they were responsible for composing some of the most well-known poems in the British literary canon and influenced generations of acolytes. They were also the foremost literary critics of the period, contributing influential writings on literary theory and philosophy — exemplified by Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria.
‘Routledge Library Editions: Wordsworth and Coleridge’ assembles a wide range of scholarship and criticism that covers all aspects of their diverse output and charts the vicissitudes of their lives — examining their poetry, criticism, philosophy and sources of inspiration. It will also help introduce them to newer readers and explain notoriously difficult to understand works like Wordsworth’s The Prelude. This set reissues 14 books originally published between 1960 and 1991 and will be of interest to students of literature and literary history.