Beginning with an examination of some of the ways in which allusion was conceptualized in the eighteenth century, this chapter focuses on verbal literary allusion, which exists on the allusive spectrum between frank plagiarism at the one extreme and echo at the other. Close reading of poems by Alexander Pope (the different versions of the Dunciad), William Collins (“Ode on the Poetical Character”), and Thomas Gray (“Ode on the Spring” and “The Progress of Poesy”) demonstrates some ways in which eighteenth-century poets used the figure of allusion to articulate meaning, and to negotiate the writer’s relation with poetic contemporaries and forebears. Allusion tests the reader’s powers of recognition and invites the reader’s participation; this chapter explores some opportunities for poetic obfuscation or clarification that the trope offered to both satiric and lyric authors, and some possibilities and implications of the poet’s, or editor’s, or poet-editor’s explanatory and interpretative commentary.
Augustan American verse is the essence of this article. The poetry composed by the colonial poets from New England are discussed in this article. Colonial poets often said they were imitating Alexander Pope, Virgil, and Horace. Joseph Addison, John Dryden, and John Milton were also frequently mentioned. A reader acquainted with James Thomson, Abraham Cowley, Samuel Butler, and John Pomfret's “The Choice” will find much familiar in colonial poetry—so much so that later critics have often complained that colonial verse is derivative. Like their European contemporaries, Augustan poets in the colonies believed the “polish'd Arts” could help control “wild Passions” and “humanize the Soul.” This article also traces the transcendent values and contractarian logic which constitutes the Augustan Age. Detailed analysis of the works of writers such as Henry Brookes The New Metamorphoses and works of Ebenezer Cook forms the concluding part of the article.
This chapter defines literary qualities of ballads, those sung narratives which are part of our anonymous literary heritage. The conventions of the genre are discussed, such as the imagery of ballads as well as their narrative structure, characters, diction, prosody, rhyme schemes, and modal melodies. Qualities associated with songs or stories transmitted orally, such as incremental repetition and formulaic epithets or descriptive commonplaces, are also discussed and examples are given. Some of the controversies about the origins and composition of ballads are sketched in, as well as a thumbnail history of when and how these popular narratives were first collected. Their prevalence in eighteenth-century British society is suggested. The subject matter of ballads is described and the plots of a number of typical ballads are given in brief.
Blank verse was a self-consciously distinct literary form in the long eighteenth century, used to react very deliberately to the expectations generated by the “default setting” of couplets. Poets attempted with various degrees of success to explore the rhythmic and syntactic possibilities of the form, while the long shadow of Milton’s Paradise Lost compelled any usage or discussion of blank verse in the eighteenth-century to confront the pretensions of the epic and the sublime. This chapter considers the techniques and preoccupations of prominent eighteenth-century blank-versifiers including Thomson, Young, Akenside, and Cowper (as well as noting the significance of blank-verse tragedy) as part of an eighteenth-century discussion of the unfettered ambitions of the human imagination.
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.
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.