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