Biographia Literaria, Or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions, Vol. 1: Part II (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, 2018 M03 25 - 264 páginas
Excerpt from Biographia Literaria, or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions, Vol. 1: Part II

From a hundred possible confutations let one suflice. According to this system the idea or vibration a from the external object A becomes associable with the idea or vibration m from the external object M, because the oscillation a propagated itself so as to reproduce the oscillation m. But the original impression from M was essentially different from the impression A unless therefore different causes may produce the same effect, the vibration a could never produce the vibra tion m: and this therefore could never be the means, by which a and m are associated.' To understand this, the attentive reader need only be reminded, that the ideas are themselves, in Hartley's system, nothing more than their appropriate configurative vibrations. It is a mere delusion of the fancy to conceive the pre existence of the ideas, in any chain of association, as so many differently coloured billiard-balls in contabt, so that when an object, the billiard-stick, strikes the first or white ball, the same motion propagates itself through the red, green, blue and black, and sets the whole in motion. N 0! We must suppose the very same force, which constitutes the white ball, to consti tute the red or black; or the idea of a circle to consti tute the idea of a triangle; which is impossible.

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Born in Ottery St. Mary, England, in 1772, Samuel Taylor Coleridge studied revolutionary ideas at Cambridge before leaving to enlist in the Dragoons. After his plans to start a communist society in the United States with his friend Robert Southey, later named poet laureate of England, were botched, Coleridge instead turned his attention to teaching and journalism in Bristol. Coleridge married Southey's sister-in-law Sara Fricker, and they moved to Nether Stowey, where they became close friends with William and Dorothy Wordsworth. From this friendship a new poetry emerged, one that focused on Neoclassic artificiality. In later years, their relationship became strained, partly due to Coleridge's moral collapse brought on by opium use, but more importantly because of his rejection of Wordworth's animistic views of nature. In 1809, Coleridge began a weekly paper, The Friend, and settled in London, writing and lecturing. In 1816, he published Kubla Kahn. Coleridge reported that he composed this brief fragment, considered by many to be one of the best poems ever written lyrically and metrically, while under the influence of opium, and that he mentally lost the remainder of the poem when he roused himself to answer an ill-timed knock at his door. Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel, and his sonnet Ozymandias are all respected as inventive and widely influential Romantic pieces. Coleridge's prose works, especially Biographia Literaria, were also broadly read in his day. Coleridge died in 1834.

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