The Dark Night of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Dark Night of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Dark Night of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Dark Night of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Excerpt

This book is concerned with what those acquainted with Coleridge criticism may consider the well-worn subject of the "Coleridge riddle" -- the question, what happened to Coleridge? Or rather, Why did it happen? The original impetus for undertaking it came from the reading of two works,Coleridge own Dejection: An Ode, and a book byJacques and Raïssa Maritain , The Situation of Poetry, which in turn led to two works byAlbert Béguin, L'Ame Romantique et le Rêve and Poêsie et Mystique. These recent works, written without any reference to Coleridge, suggested avenues of research in his own life and works which might be enlightening to the student still puzzled by the apparent anomalies of Coleridge's career.

There seems to be very nearly universal agreement as to Coleridge's intellectual stature: he possessed one of the most agile and comprehensive minds we know of in nineteenth-century England. Students of the nineteenth century now recognize his tremendous influence on subsequent thought -- through the medium of works that no one except those students ever reads, and through his conversation. A half-dozen or so of his poems are singled out by the widest variety of critics (from John Livingston Lowes . . .

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