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Gothic Romance

Coleridge on Dreaming: Romanticism, Dreams and the Medical by Jennifer Ford

By Jennifer Ford

This e-book is the 1st research of Coleridge's responses to his goals and to debates at the nature of dreaming between poets, philosophers and scientists within the Romantic interval. Coleridge wrote and browse commonly at the topic, yet his diversified and unique principles have hitherto acquired little awareness. fending off merely biographical or psychoanalytic methods, Jennifer Ford finds as an alternative a wealthy old context for the ways that the main mysterious workings of the Romantic mind's eye have been explored and understood.

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Extra resources for Coleridge on Dreaming: Romanticism, Dreams and the Medical Imagination

Example text

Excitability is a basic quality inherent in or given to all living matter. It is a capacity to perceive outside impressions and to be able to respond to them. Under normal physiological conditions, excitability decreases throughout the body from childhood to old age. The implications of this theory are profound: Brown argued that life is produced only when outside influences act upon excitability. External stimulants utilise excitability and the response to their actions is the combined product of both stimuli and excitability.

5 Once the mind is seen in spatial terms, it is possible for its perceived limits to be transgressed. Coleridge's presentation of his mind as a dreaming place that can be visited and experienced spatially is intimately linked to his explorations into an individual's moral constitution and into the nature and origin of evil. He once commented that 'the greater & perhaps nobler certainly all the subtler parts of one's nature, must be solitary - Man exists herein to himself & to God alone / - Yea, in how much lies below his own Consciousness' (CN1 1554).

The initial moments of falling asleep and beginning a dream stand for Coleridge as the most accessible illustrations of the mind's ability to house and to experience a space for dreaming: a 'somnial space' (GTViv 5360). In a notebook entry from early 1803, he toys with these ideas, claiming: To fall asleep - is not a real event in the body well represented by this phrase - is it in excess, when on first dropping asleep we fall down precipices, or sink down, all things sinking beneath us, or drop down, &c - Is there not a Disease from deficiency of this critical sensation/when people imagine, that they have been awake all night/& actually lie dreaming, expecting & wishing for this critical Sensation?

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