The Idea of Coleridge's Criticism

The Idea of Coleridge's Criticism

The Idea of Coleridge's Criticism

The Idea of Coleridge's Criticism

Excerpt

Estimates of the value of Coleridge's criticism have varied widely, although few have questioned the fact of its influence. Among authoritative professional scholars René Wellek has been able to perceive in Coleridge's critical theory only eclecticism roving amid the ideas of transcendental Germans. With much respect for Coleridge's critical acumen and some regard for his consistency, Professor Wellek finds little originality in his thought. T. M. Raysor, the most notable editor of Coleridge's critical writings, has boundless admiration for his subject's psychological insights and his practical results, but he rejects Coleridge's system completely, dismissing its central theory of imagination with some self-restraint as "unfortunate." Raysor also has reservations about the appropriateness of the Coleridgean method to the drama, considering that Coleridge talks not about plays but about dramatic poetry. Something will be said later of this. Coleridge's most recent editor, Kathleen Coburn, is also noticeably cautious in her claims for him.

Fine general critics of our times, such as Eliot, Tate, and Ransom, have been repelled by Coleridge's romanticism. Desiring objective certainty and precision, and unalterably opposed to romantic monism and transcendentalism, they have taxed him with overphilosophizing, overpsychologizing, sentimentalizing, confus-

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