This article discusses the American constitutional elegy. It argues that American national difference in literature can be tracked in the terms of its engagement with specifically American constitutional principles, concentrating on the national period, beginning in the late eighteenth century with the Revolutionary War and sketching the story up to the present day. It then returns to the great theme of elegy as a flexible form and its practices under persistent self-scrutiny. All choral poetry carries with it an association with the choruses of ancient, especially Athenian, tragedy and thus with the common understanding that the chorus speaks as or on behalf of a democratic citizenry. Marilyn Hacker has written a ‘constitutional elegy’ in the great American tradition, a tradition that continues to challenge our principled commitment to the legal and symbolic bonds of ‘adjacent difference’ in a rights-based national polity.
Anne K. Mellor
This article addresses the female-authored elegy. By far the greatest number of elegies penned by women between 1660 and 1834 confront the loss of a dearly beloved family member or friend. Additionally, it describes Mary Chudleigh's three elegies at length because they provide a brilliant representation of the emotional continuum upon which other female elegists map the work of grieving. At the end of the eighteenth century, the female-authored elegy underwent a significant literary development. In the hands of its most skilled practitioners — Charlotte Smith, Helen Maria Williams, Mary Robinson, Letitia Landon, and Felicia Hemans — the poetic elegy became an exploration. The female-authored elegies functioned on occasion as a vehicle of culturally repressed sexual desire. Many of them are more specific in their political critique, taking the occasion to support particular parties, policies or public figures.
The British book trade evolved into a fully modern industry during this period. Its modernity was signalled by more effective copyright laws, clearer divisions of labour and responsibility, and the emergence of publishing as a distinctive branch of the trade. The period saw a significant increase in the publication of fiction as a purely commercial phenomenon. Publishers, booksellers, the owners of circulating libraries, and authors all benefited from this. New and more standardized formats developed, including the ‘three-decker’ and the one-volume cheap reprint, which were to characterize much of the nineteenth-century fiction industry, and at the same time the old practice of serial publication was revived from the early 1830s onwards in several forms. Fiction publishing was a business—and by the end of the period it was a commercially significant business.
This article examines the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in relation to European literature. Coleridge was a literary enthusiast throughout his life, gobbling up a diverse diet of reading from various European traditions. He was committed to the task of translation as well as to the critical appraisal of the English literature of his time. The article attempts to explain the ways in which these apparently opposing aspects of his literary enthusiasm grew together and remained fundamental to one another, while also pointing to the most important connections to European literature within Coleridge's oeuvre.
James C. McKusick
This article examines the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in relation to language theory. It argues that Coleridge's speculation on linguistic universals anticipates Noam Chomsky's theory of generative grammar. The article suggests that Coleridge's engagement with language theory was vitally important to the intellectual culture of its own time, and that it remains a seminal instance of nineteenth-century speculation on the nature and origin of language.
This article examines the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge relevant to philosophy. It suggests that although Coleridge did not leave behind an original, coherent philosophical system or a single finished book which could be called a philosophical work, he has somehow acquired the reputation of being the most philosophical of the British Romantic poets. The article discusses doubts concerning Coleridge's qualifications as an original philosophical thinker. Renée Wellek, for example, remarked on the fundamental weakness of his thought– incoherence and indistinctness–and considered the study of Coleridge's philosophy to be futile.
This article examines the issues of plagiarism in the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It explains that the sources of Coleridge's writings have long fascinated critics. Coleridge's kindest critics have disentangled the components of his eclectically derivative corpus and compulsively devious practice, while his unkindest critic, Norman Fruman, has reacted against the canonical sentimentality that has transmogrified the real Coleridge into the ‘Da Vinci’ of literature. The article suggests that Coleridge crossed a qualitative line, that intangible border which separates plagiarists from the other writers who have their secrets, but who seem to lack the tendency towards dependency.
Eric G. Wilson
This article examines the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge relevant to science. It explains that Coleridge, for most of his adult life, had been an assiduous student of several scientific disciplines, ranging from geology to chemistry to physiology. The article argues that Coleridge never separated his poetical and philosophical efforts from ongoing commitment to the hard facts of nature, and that his stay with physician James Gillman in Highgate, England provided him with the opportunity to learn more about science.
This article examines the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge relevant to arts. It highlights his efforts to attain fluency in the language of the visual arts, but also to bring the visual and the verbal into conversation in the space of the text. The article suggests that Coleridge's deep consideration of the arts influenced other areas of his thought, including his political writings, his arguments on the history of philosophy, and his later spiritual writings.
Christopher R. Miller
This article examines the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge in relation to the English poetic tradition. It suggests that Coleridge advanced the tradition envisioned by Thomas Gray by departing from the kind of ode which his predecessor exalted. The article contends that while lyric form alone could not revivify Coleridge's spirits, it indisputably invigorated the English poetic tradition. Some of those influenced by Coleridge's works include John Keats.
This article examines the collaboration and ‘symbiosis’ of English poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. It explains that this celebrated friendship involved intimate and creative gift exchange both in world view and in the craft of verse, and that two instances of this gift were Frost at Midnight and Tintern Abbey, two of the greatest poems of 1798. The article contends that the long-term outcome of this friendship was a weakening of each poet's confidence in his own voice.
This article examines the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge relevant to theology. It explains that despite being mostly known in literature, Coleridge was primarily a theologian, and that he was serious in his theology. Coleridge investigated the questions of the status of Scripture, doctrines of the Fall, justification and sanctification, and the personality and infinity of God. He believed that theology requires philosophical explication, and his theology was deeply metaphysical.
Michael John Kooy
This article examines the career of Samuel Taylor Coleridge as editor of The Watchman and The Friend. It suggests that although these journals were produced in very different political circumstances by a man whose own political views had also changed profoundly, they both arose out of, and sought to address, the feeling of disenchantment with politics by appealing to fixed principles. These journals injected high moral purpose, historical perspective, and philosophical reflection into political debate in order to give strength to those whose millenarian hopes had not been realized.
This article examines Samuel Taylor Coleridge's career as a literary critic, focusing on his Biographia Literaria and Essays on the Principles of Genial Criticism. It explains that Biographia Literaria is Coleridge's most controversial, most widely read and most provocative work, which he wrote after his battle with opium addiction. The article suggests that Essays on the Principles of Genial Criticism was based on Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment and on the aesthetic theory of Richard Payne Knight, whom Coleridge considered as a serious rival in aesthetics.
This article examines the career of Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a playwright. It suggests that Coleridge's influence as a dramatic critic has overshadowed his reputation as a playwright. Coleridge completed a total of four plays from 1794 to 1817. These include The Fall of Robespierre, an Historic Drama, Osorio, A Tragedy, Remorse, A Tragedy, and Zapolya: A Christmas Tale. The article discusses the plot and storyline of these works.
H. J. Jackson
This article describes Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a reader and discusses the topic of marginalia. It suggests that Coleridge is the best-known scribbler in books in the English-speaking world, having held the title unchallenged for 170 years or more. The article argues that Coleridge was a reader all his life and it helped him acquire the full set of languages and the advanced competence in disparate fields.
This article examines the reputation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a talker and sage. It suggests that Coleridge's celebrity as a sage and conversationalist was at its height during his stay with the Gillmans in Highgate, England from 1816 onwards, and especially the period after 1829. The article discusses the distinctive opinions he expressed to his numerous visitors in this period based on Table Talk.
Murray J. Evans
This article describes Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a thinker based on his Logic and Opus Maximum. It argues that while these works failed to attract much readership and scholarship, they reveal Coleridge the thinker in uniquely rich ways, with insights which surprise and reorient our current knowledge on both Coleridge and also a number of perennial issues for Coleridge and Romantics scholarship. The article provides contextual comments on each text.
This article examines the work of Samuel Taylor Coleridge as a translator. It explains that Coleridge was able to establish himself as a translator early in his career, with his English version of Friedrich Schiller's Wallenstein in 1800. Schiller's work was translated into English as The Piccolomini and The Death of Wallenstein, which both contain several thousand lines. After translating Schiller's work, Coleridge continued in his role, as interpreter and commentator on German literature and philosophy.
This article examines Samuel Taylor Coleridge's views on allegory and symbol. It discusses criticisms on Coleridge's desynonymizing of allegory and symbols that fall under the three broad categories of empirical, conceptual, and ethical. The article highlights the Coleridgean distinction between the symbol as a non-discursive and synecdochical form of representation and allegory as the discursive representation of abstractions through unrelated images of no inherent significance.