Biographia Literaria, Or, Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions, Part 1
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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Rather than trying to give one more distillation of the well known, we have used
the limited space of the Introduction for two purposes. In the first part of the
Introduction, written by W. J. Bate, we have discussed the peculiar circumstances
In all of these approaches, no one has ever been displeased to discover that, for
whatever he is discussing or urging, he can find a precedent in Coleridge: a
general insight or a quotation that might give both vividness of expression and ...
Like the ostrich, I cannot fly, yet I have wings that give me the feeling of flight. . .".3
It is perhaps sufficient to refer to Coleridge's letter of 9 April 1814 (to Thomas
Curnick): the difficulties of the modern poet, facing the problem of what was left to
organizing (as it were) the flux of the Senses by the permanence and self-circling
energies of the Reason, gives birth to a system of symbols, harmonious in
themselves, and consubstantial with the truths, of which they are the conductors.
At any rate, Coleridge's concern for the principle in general might best and most
briefly be seen in his use of a favourite quotation from Paradise Lost at the
beginning of Chapter 13, the opening of which gives the essence: O Adam, One ...