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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For what, after all, was art and its criticism but the imitation and reflection of the
life between man and nature, the story of the subjective mind or being as it meets
and experiences the objective, created world, a universal story, yet one that each
The "total and undivided philosophy" results from that "equatorial point" where
the study of the self, of the subjective being and its reason, meets the study of
nature cultivated through the senses. Art makes that "equatorial point" something
In fact, if the system really were "total" and connected, then pantheism of some
sort would be a natural, seemingly an ... Coleridge took for granted the opposition
of the self ("spirit" or "self-consciousness") and of nature (the objective world).
in expanding its scope to include natural science, psychology, art, and religion. ...
even as He lived in this world, was in its own way a mythic and holy book written
in symbols that explained creation, nature, God, and man in a poetic language; ...
There was a natural correspondence between the mind and nature, symbolised
in art; both mind and nature (the mind itself viewed, in fact, as part of nature)
ultimately came from a primal creation. All things were seen in God, " 'in whom