Coleridge and the Uses of Division

Hardcover | April 5, 2000

bySeamus Perry

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Coleridge repeatedly announced the merits of unity, while experiencing the truth of division. A visionary drawn to the numinous, he was also a spontaneous connoisseur of the sensory life; a metaphysician inclined to idealism, his thought was permanently way-laid by a tenacious realism. Suchdouble-mindedness frustrated his ambitions for system, and has often been criticised as a sort of incapacity; but the capability of entertaining equally necessary or valuable kinds of perception, which yet prove ultimately incompatible, might alternatively be thought a kind of virtue - even,perhaps, the secret of his paradoxical, self-defeating genius. The study examines Coleridge's formative double-vision as it manifests itself in his profound self-analysis, his philosophy of mind, his reflections on love and ethics, his descriptions of imagination, and his literary criticism. The focus of many of these mixed feelings is the ambiguous figure ofWordsworth: his momentous and often troubled partnership with Coleridge is examined in detail. Throughout, close attention is paid to Coleridge the writer, the metaphor-maker and stylist, exhibited across the wide range of his oeuvre, in public and private works, prose and poetry. A coda offers areading of The Ancient Mariner, tracing back the central threads of the study to Coleridges early and surprising masterpiece.

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Coleridge repeatedly announced the merits of unity, while experiencing the truth of division. A visionary drawn to the numinous, he was also a spontaneous connoisseur of the sensory life; a metaphysician inclined to idealism, his thought was permanently way-laid by a tenacious realism. Suchdouble-mindedness frustrated his ambitions for...

Seamus Perry is a Lecturer in English Literature at University of Glasgow.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:April 5, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198183976

ISBN - 13:9780198183976

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Table of Contents

Note on Texts and Select BibliographyIntroduction1. Coleridge and Division2. Coleridge's Visions3. Atoning Plurality: The Mind and the World4. The Ethics of Imagining5. Radical Differences: Milton, Shakespeare, WordsworthCoda. The Incomprehensible MarinerIndex

Editorial Reviews

`Do not use this review as a substitute: read the book, one of the best on Coleridge in decades. Perry, a young scholar, writes with deft grace, conversational point and charm, with a density of thought never betrayed by its clarity of expression. Though too strenuous for most beginningstudents, this is a magnificent examen for those already introduced. Perry displays flair, tact, range, humor, and command of commentary. An active, capacious intelligence here engages a restless, profound one.'James Engell, Romanticism