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Gothic Romance

Coleridge and the philosophy of poetic form by Ewan James Jones

By Ewan James Jones

Ewan James Jones argues that Coleridge engaged most importantly with philosophy now not via systematic argument, yet in verse. Jones incorporates this argument via a sequence of sustained shut readings, either one of canonical texts corresponding to Christabel and The Rime of the traditional Mariner, and likewise of much less well-known verse, corresponding to Limbo. Such paintings indicates that the basic parts of poetic expression - a poem's metre, rhythm, rhyme and different such formal positive factors - enabled Coleridge to imagine in an unique and unique demeanour, which his systematic philosophy impeded. Attentiveness to such formal gains, which has for it slow been neglected in Coleridge scholarship, allows a rethinking of the connection among eighteenth-century verse and philosophy extra extensively, because it engages with matters together with impact, materiality and self-identity. Coleridge's poetic considering, Jones argues, either consolidates and radicalises the present literary serious rediscovery of shape

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72 In the graveyard of speculative etymologies, the mental faculties are particularly well represented: we find there Interruption in the conversation poem sequence 35 Heidegger’s Pietist coupling of thinking and thanking,73 and Coleridge’s equally wishful link between thinking and ‘thinging’. James McKusick notes that already by Coleridge’s time philology generally accepted the Latin mens as source-word74 – yet the expression is nonetheless revealing. For how can we square the need to move ‘still progressively’, with the idea of a motion ‘backward’?

The onus is on mind to do this. ). All of this contributes to the sense of a forcing of the material world into being, precisely as an emblem. As such it announces the poem’s more general, rather strange theme. It is not sufficient for Coleridge speculatively to envisage a scene; the absent friends who behold it must be felt, like the 30 Coleridge and the Philosophy of Poetic Form convalescent, to appreciate it for the negativity from which it has been won. So even while envying his able-bodied friends, Coleridge projectively identifies with Charles Lamb, the poem’s addressee, through his capacity to retrieve sensuous experience from passive captivity (‘[i]n the great City pent’ (30)).

And thus my love! as on the midway slope Of yonder hill I stretch my limbs at noon, While through my half-closed eye-lids I behold The sunbeams dance, like diamonds, on the main, (32–7) Once again a forced break (here marked by the linear indentation of the new verse paragraph), for all the logical claims of ‘thus’, proves digressive. ’ We remain uncertain whether we are in the realm of analogy or immanence, when the speaker’s ‘half-closed eye-lids’ (we recall Terada’s ‘aberrant’ sense-experience) force this newly envisaged scene already to dissolve into the obscure brilliance of dancing sunbeams.

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