Biographia Literaria, Or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, 2016 M12 3 - 756 páginas
Excerpt from Biographia Literaria, or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions

Mr. Coleridge's means, been actually deprived of it, even for an hour. With regard to the first ground of accusation, it is doubt less to be regretted by every friend of the accused, that he should have adopted so important a portion Of the words and thoughts of Schelling without himself making those distinct and accurate references, which he might have known would eventually be re quired as surely as he succeeded in his attempt to recommend the metaphysical doctrines contained in them to the attention Of stu dents in this country. Why did Mr. Coleridge act thus, subjecting himself, as he might well have anticipated, aware as he was of the hostile Spirit against his person and principles, that existed in many quarters, to suspicion from the illiberal, and contumc lious treatment at the hands of the hard and unscrupulous Why he so acted those who best knew him can well understand, without seeing in his conduct evidence Of unconscientiousness: they see the truth Of the matter to be this, that to give those distinct and accurate references, for the neglect of which he is now so severely arraigned, would have caused him much trouble of a kind to him peculiarly irksome, and that he dispensed him self from it in the belief, that the general declaration which he had made upon the subject was sufficient both for Schelling and for himself. This will be the more intelligible when it is borne in mind, that, as all who knew his literary habits will believe, the passages from Schelling, which he wove into his work, were not transcribedfor the occasion, but merely transferred from his note-book into the text, some of them, in all likelihood, not even from his note-book immediately, but from recollection of its con tents. It is most probable that he mistook some of these trans lated passages for compositions Of his own, and quite improbable, as all who know his careless ways will agree, that he should have noted down accurately the particular works and portions Of works from which they came.

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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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