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Coleridge's Poetry and Prose

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His writings are wide-ranging in form and content, and vast in number. Norton's long-awaited edition is the most comprehensive and user-friendly student edition available. Supporting apparatus includes detailed headnotes, footnotes (both Coleridge's and the editors'), biographical register, glossary, and an index of poems and first lines. Criticism includes twenty assessme His writings are wide-ranging in form and content, and vast in number. Norton's long-awaited edition is the most comprehensive and user-friendly student edition available. Supporting apparatus includes detailed headnotes, footnotes (both Coleridge's and the editors'), biographical register, glossary, and an index of poems and first lines. Criticism includes twenty assessments of Coleridge's poetry and prose by British and American authors. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.


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His writings are wide-ranging in form and content, and vast in number. Norton's long-awaited edition is the most comprehensive and user-friendly student edition available. Supporting apparatus includes detailed headnotes, footnotes (both Coleridge's and the editors'), biographical register, glossary, and an index of poems and first lines. Criticism includes twenty assessme His writings are wide-ranging in form and content, and vast in number. Norton's long-awaited edition is the most comprehensive and user-friendly student edition available. Supporting apparatus includes detailed headnotes, footnotes (both Coleridge's and the editors'), biographical register, glossary, and an index of poems and first lines. Criticism includes twenty assessments of Coleridge's poetry and prose by British and American authors. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

30 review for Coleridge's Poetry and Prose

  1. 5 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Coleridge through a keyhole I had any prose by Coleridge on my Christmas wish list so my daughter the English PhD gave me this 775 page selection from his poetry and prose, and lest you think this is anything close to complete you don't know Coleridge. Here is one quick data point to give you an idea how much this guy published: this collection includes 18 of his letters--his complete published letters total 1,800 in a six volume set. And apparently, from the editors notes and selec Review title: Coleridge through a keyhole I had any prose by Coleridge on my Christmas wish list so my daughter the English PhD gave me this 775 page selection from his poetry and prose, and lest you think this is anything close to complete you don't know Coleridge. Here is one quick data point to give you an idea how much this guy published: this collection includes 18 of his letters--his complete published letters total 1,800 in a six volume set. And apparently, from the editors notes and selection of contemporary commentary on Coleridge he was even more voluminous and as tortuous to understand as a talker; just give him a topic, said some of his best friends and he will talk for hours around the point--good luck getting a word in edgewise. Coleridge was unapologetic about his turgid writing (and speaking) style: If any man expect from my poems the same easiness of style which he admires in a drinking song, for him I have not written. Intelligibilia, non intellectual adfero [I bring things to be understood, not things that are understood]. (p. 47) So, I spent the last two weeks reading this keyhole sized collection of Coleridge. I read front to back as I always do even when reading a collection like this. It's my organized nature. And the editors made a point of putting the collection in order of publication because 1. They wanted readers to see his maturation and 2. He edited many of his poems, some multiple times for various publications throughout his lifetime. Coleridge himself, after most of his life favoring topical organization of his published volumes of poetry, finally in 1834 in his last year of life said "All your divisions are in particular instances inadequate, and they destroy the interest which arises from watching the progress, maturity, and even the decay of genius." (P. 204) For example, addiction to opium, used as a painkiller when the addictive powers of the drug were not yet recognized, seemed to me to diminish the quality of Coleridge's poetry well before the end of his life, and in fact he appears to have mostly abandoned the poetic form for prose, although he continually made changes to his previous output all through his life. So his best poetry was written early on. I wonder if Coleridge influenced Tolkien? "Ode on the departing year" reads middle earthy. "Fears in Solitude" is a great poem that should be required reading for Donald Trump and anyone who wants to be President. But his best poem is the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" written early on, of course, then later revised with added margin notes to explain what some contemporary readers thought was inexplicable in the original. The editors print both the original version and the final revision with marginal notes in parallel columns and both are readable and interesting to compare. This was my first time reading "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner", a phantasmagorical tale told by the old sailor who had witnessed bizarre events (a friendly albatross, a becalmed ship, an undead crew, ghostly voices) and, now condemned to wander alone, feels compelled to tell his tale to those he knows need to hear it because the hearer will be "A sadder and a wiser man/He rose the morrow morn." (p. 98, 99) The tale is compelling, horrific (Steven King has written no images more powerful than this), spiritual, comic, and sad. As I read it alone in my hotel room thousands of miles from home for work, not unlike the ancient mariner, just a few short weeks after my father died and my wife had major surgery, it was both deeply moving and strangely comforting, as the sailor tells his listener, a young guest at a wedding: O Wedding-Guest! this soul hath been Alone on a wide wide sea: So lonely 'twas, that God himself Scarce seemed there to be. O sweeter than the marriage feast, ' Tis sweeter far to me, To walk together to the kirk With a goodly company!-- To walk together to the kirk, And all together pray, While each to his great Father bends, Old men, and babes, and loving friends, And youths and maidens gay! (p. 98, 99) His early prose was powerful and direct on topics such as the French Revolution, the slave trade (he was an outspoken and strongly worded abolitionist), and British politics. From "A Moral and Political Lecture", written in criticism of the British government in response to the French Revolution but which could as easily and simply apply to today's American political climate by simple search and replace: When the Wind is fair and the Planks of the vessel sound, we may safely trust every thing to the management of professional Mariners ; but in a Tempest and on board a crazy Bark, all must contribute their Quota of Exertion. The Stripling is not exempted from it by his Youth, nor the Passenger by his Inexperience. Even so in the prefent agitations of the public mind, every one ought to consider his intellectual faculties as in a state of immediate requisition. All may benefit Society in some degree. The exigences of the Times do not permit us to stay for the matures years, lest the opportunity be lost, while we are waiting for an increase of power. Writing about Hamlet, Coleridge says "he is a man living in meditation, called upon to act by every motive human & divine but the great purpose of life defeated by continually resolving to do, yet doing nothing but resolve." (P. 336) He may have been describing my attitude toward voting in recent US elections as I have been sorely disappointed in the caliber of the candidates of both parties and resolved that for things to improve we must reinstate voting qualifications, not for race, property, or gender, but wisdom. Coleridge has something to say about that as well--in addition to his poetry he wrote on politics, religion, philosophy, and literary criticism--and he gets right to the flaw in my idea: "Superior wisdom, with superior virtue, would indeed confer a right of superior power, but who is to decide on the possession? Not the person himself, who makes the claim: and if the people, then the right is given, and not inherent. Votes, therefore, cannot be weighed in this way, and they must not be weighed in any other way, and nothing remains possible, but that they must be numbered. (p. 303) In a later sometimes inspired and ofttimes complex (contemporary critics said obtuse) mashup of religion and politics known as "The Statesman's Manual", Coleridge discusses in greater depth the Bible as the source of political wisdom, which he defines, roughly speaking and as near as I can determine, as the intersection of reason and imagination. So regardless of the impracticability of my politics, and the uneven quality of Coleridge's body of work (you could blame the opium), this omnibus collection is peppered with classic material like this. But for most of his last 20 years his writing delved into German philosophies of literary criticism and his writing (for example most of the 120 pages devoted to the Biographia Literaria in this collection) is as obtuse as his contemporary critics claimed. The editors provide introductions to each piece of writing to provide background and context and extensive footnotes to explain now-obscure references in Coleridge's writings. Be warned however: the footnote font is tiny, perhaps readable for the university student readers who are this edition's target audience, but too small for my older and tireder eyes. They include a selection of criticism of Coleridge from the 19th and 20th centuries, and a biographical register and glossary, each of which could have had more entries and more details. I wanted to give this collection a 5 star classic rating after reading the Ancient Mariner. I'm not a poetry person but that is truly classic literature in any form or genre. But the more I read the more Coleridge talked me out of it. In the end this is worth any reader's time, but don't sweat the stuff you don't get. Savor the highlights through the keyhole.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    What a difference 200 years can make. Coleridge's English was tough for me to follow at times. Several of the poems and The Biographia Literaria excerpts were a tough slog. The Shakespearean Criticism and the letters read much more easily (or was it because the latter two categories came later in the volume and I had accustomed myself to the cadence, etc. of that earlier English?) An acquaintance told me that Coleridge's Shakespearean critiques are still revered. Anyway, I bought this book twent What a difference 200 years can make. Coleridge's English was tough for me to follow at times. Several of the poems and The Biographia Literaria excerpts were a tough slog. The Shakespearean Criticism and the letters read much more easily (or was it because the latter two categories came later in the volume and I had accustomed myself to the cadence, etc. of that earlier English?) An acquaintance told me that Coleridge's Shakespearean critiques are still revered. Anyway, I bought this book twenty years ago at the Moscow Dum Kniha (House of Books) and while on a ten day silent mediation retreat this fall, it occurred to me that outside of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I hadn't read it at all. When the retreat was over I resolved to read it. I have now done so, but now question to what end.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    3.5/5 I'm not the best judge of poetry, so I'm a bit at a loss rating this but I will say that 1) it's very obvious he improved, even to me, 2) The Ancient Mariner is one of Coleridge's best known works for a reason, and 3) I am so happy to know that story about him dropping out of Cambridge and enrolling in the army under a false name. Made my day when I read it in the introduction to his early works. 3.5/5 I'm not the best judge of poetry, so I'm a bit at a loss rating this but I will say that 1) it's very obvious he improved, even to me, 2) The Ancient Mariner is one of Coleridge's best known works for a reason, and 3) I am so happy to know that story about him dropping out of Cambridge and enrolling in the army under a false name. Made my day when I read it in the introduction to his early works.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tina Dalton

    "Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink" Or how about "The willing suspension of disbelief" Recognize those iconic phrases? Coleridge at his finest. I LOVED reading the Rime of the Ancient Mariner again. So much better now that I'm an adult. "Water water everywhere and not a drop to drink" Or how about "The willing suspension of disbelief" Recognize those iconic phrases? Coleridge at his finest. I LOVED reading the Rime of the Ancient Mariner again. So much better now that I'm an adult.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Doug Warren

    I don't know how to judge poetry. Was it well written? Definitely. Was it entertaining? Most of the time. Did I leave it thinking "Wow, I am so glad I read that?" Nope. I don't know how to judge poetry. Was it well written? Definitely. Was it entertaining? Most of the time. Did I leave it thinking "Wow, I am so glad I read that?" Nope.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maybama02 Carroll

    Not a fan of Coleridge

  7. 5 out of 5

    Relstaff

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Lucas

  9. 4 out of 5

    znf

  10. 4 out of 5

    Urs

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Silvia Anatriello

  13. 5 out of 5

    JohndaW

  14. 4 out of 5

    Amy Stahl

  15. 4 out of 5

    Magdalena

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Lester

  17. 5 out of 5

    C

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Frederick

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Cantor

  20. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fremann333

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Estefanía

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dish Wanderer

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Russell

  28. 5 out of 5

    Claude Goozer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Gregorini

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bob Moskowitz

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