First published in 1983, this book examines a work whose intricacies have baffled and infuriated generations of readers and proposes a theory of Coleridge’s writing habits that "explain(s) his explanation". The author painstakingly analyses the Biographia’s organising structure distinguishing between the daring conception and often inept execution of Coleridge’s idea of critical discourse. It is argued that Coleridge’s autobiographical format present a richly metaphorical "self" whose literary life has led to the now-famous doctrine of secondary imagination. The author’s command of Coleridge scholarship will shed new light on the Biographia for specialists and non-specialists alike.
Preface; Abbreviations; Acknowledgments; 1 The Chamois Hunter 2 Starting Points 3 The Associative Fancy 4 Imagination’s Synthesis of Being and Knowing 5 Imagination, Philosophic Consciousness and the ‘True and Original Realism’ 6 Poetry 7 Wordsworth and Poetic Diction 8 Wordsworth and the Imaginative Particular 9 Conclusion; 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.