Biographia Literaria, Or, Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions, Parte1
Princeton University Press, 1984 - 409 páginas
Biographia Literaria has emerged over the last century as a supreme work of literary criticism and one of the classics of English literature. Into this volume poured 20 years of speculation about the criticism and uses of poetry and about the psychology of art. Following the text of the 1817 edition, the editors offer the first completely annotated edition of the highly allusive work.
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By the beginning of our own century the prestige of the work, at least in the
English-speaking world, had risen to a level that could be expressed by two
quotations. The more moderate (1906) is a remark of Arthur Symons: The
But the probabilities are very strong that he only now, at the beginning of June
1815, began seriously to work on this "Preface" that became the Biographia,
although, as we have seen, he had been long meditating a statement of poetic ...
For in beginning this large general effort to redirect the course of what remained
of his life, he was simultaneously trying to cut down on his use of laudanum. We
can especially appreciate the double demand Coleridge was making on himself.
To single out these two chapters for prominence, by beginning his second
volume with them, was naturally an upsetting idea for Coleridge. There was also
the problem of continuity. Chapters 5 to 13 were a unit. Chapters 10 and 1 1, in
Writing this statement after the book was substantially completed, he decided to
place the remark at the beginning; perhaps he was hinting gently how the
Biographia should be approached and read. Time and again he returns to
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