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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University with a copy of the Biographia Literaria, I should decline to be the
person chosen to be heard against this revolution, though I should plead for the
addition of [Aristotle's] the Poetics and of Longinus".1 It is remarkable that a work
Your prospectus will have described and announced both its contents and their
nature: and if any persons purchase it, who feel no interest in the subjects of
which it treats, they will have themselves only to blame. 1 In response to this "very
... his review, Hazlitt was able to state of Coleridge, at the close of his Lectures on
the English Poets — admittedly referring to an earlier period of Coleridge's life: ...
he is the only person I ever knew who answered to the idea of a man of genius.
In an important notebook entry of 1806 Coleridge speculates "Reo = reor . . . and
res the second person singular of the Present Indicative" of a verb meaning "to
think". The conscious self becomes an intermediary for things and thoughts, and
... of the imagination", a gross imbalance in the mediation of self and nature,
ending, as its two extremes, in either a sharp self-concentration, self-delusion,
and paralysis or in an equally self-destructive disregard for one's own person.