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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Yet there are also parts of the work in which he will fall into a defensive attitude;
and since defensiveness was never Coleridge's forte, he becomes indirect and
often vulnerable. Moreover, at crucial moments, given his distressing situation at
For most of the Biographia was dictated to John Morgan, without whose help we
might never have had it. To remember this will help to explain many
characteristics of the book. THE IMMEDIATE BACKGROUND (1815): ORIGINAL
... his Preface": I never cared a straw about the theory — & the Preface was
written at the request of Coleridge out of sheer good nature — I recollect the very
spot, a deserted Quarry in the Vale of Grasmere where he pressed the thing upon
... central arguments, never dreamt of affected Simplicity were applying them, in a
routine and & Meanness of Thought & Diction — . mechanical way, to his own
work. This Slang has gone on for 14 or Cf his remark to RS (9 Feb 1813), 15
Wordsworth, he could fairly argue, would never have heard of this important "
distinction" — certainly would never have been able to make a large issue of it —
had it not been for Coleridge. Wordsworth's new edition of the Poems and its ...