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Coleridge and the Uses of Division : Oxford English Monographs - Seamus Perry

Coleridge and the Uses of Division

Oxford English Monographs

Hardcover

Published: 1st February 2000
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Coleridge repeatedly announced the merits of unity, while experiencing the truth of division. A visionary drawn to the numinous, he was also a spontaneous connoisseur of the sensory life; a metaphysician inclined to idealism, his thought was permanently way-laid by a tenacious realism. Such double-mindedness frustrated his ambitions for system, and has often been criticised as a sort of incapacity; but the capability of entertaining equally necessary or valuable kinds of perception, which yet prove ultimately incompatible, might alternatively be thought a kind of virtue - even, perhaps, the secret of his paradoxical, self-defeating genius. The study examines Coleridge's formative double-vision as it manifests itself in his profound self-analysis, his philosophy of mind, his reflections on love and ethics, his descriptions of imagination, and his literary criticism. The focus of many of these mixed feelings is the ambiguous figure of Wordsworth: his momentous and often troubled partnership with Coleridge is examined in detail. Throughout, close attention is paid to Coleridge the writer, the metaphor-maker and stylist, exhibited across the wide range of his oeuvre, in public and private works, prose and poetry. A coda offers a reading of The Ancient Mariner, tracing back the central threads of the study to Coleridges early and surprising masterpiece.

`This is a book that deserves a central place among the best critical literature on the poet; it should have a wide-ranging appeal to those who care deeply about Coleridge and his works and follow the debates that have defined his place in literary history.' John Axcelson `insightful and compelling ... In Perry's adept hands, we see division everywhere in Coleridge's oeuvre, and we indeed come to see it less as debilitating inconsistency than as a shifting pattern of engagement ... Perry makes his case with an impressive marshaling of evidence. One of the strongest elements in this strong book is Perry's remarkable possession of Coleridge's writings. His fluency with Coleridge's notebooks is positively breath-taking, and his handling of Coleridge's contemporaries as well as his recent critics reveals much erudition.' John Axcelson `intelligent study ... Perry's prose always remains elegant ... this fine book.' Stephen Bygrave, Notes and Queries, Dec. 2000. `Books about Coleridge usually end up sacrificing one or more aspects of their sugject in order to present a coherent view. Perry's singular achievement is to have brought all these partial Coleridges within his three hundred pages ... The equable, witty tone of Perry's authorial voice is sustained througout the book.' Anthony John Harding, British Assocation of Romantic Studies Bulletin and Review `What can be found here ... is an extraordinarily rich and skilfully-woven tapestry expounding Coleridge's divisions.' Anthony John Harding, University of Saskatchewan. `the book every Coleridge scholar would love to have written. It takes Coleridge on, in a spirit of capacious forgiveness for his faults, and makes available to any reader who is willing to go the distance a way of seeing Colerdige's achievements, along with his failings, as uniquely interesting and 'useful'. Perry's authorial presence is erudite and judicious, a companion through the labyrinth, an enthusiast who can be ironic about his enthusiasms.' Anthony John Harding, University of Saskatchewan. `Rarely has any book been so saturated with Coleridge's thought. Coleridge and the Uses of Division explores not so much what Coleridge thought--though it clearly grasps and presents that--as how Coleridge elaborates a complex process of thinking.' James Engell, Romanticism `Perry's elegant amassing and elucidation of evidence, a task he performs without violating a sense of the development and chronology of Coleridge's thought (he nuances it)' James Engell, Romanticism `Perry's great gift for spotting connections across very diverse texts and commenting perceptively on the resemblances and apparent contradictions they indicate. Meanwhile he maintains an easy, deft commentary, enlivened by touches of his own wit... the quality is consistently so high, notable things being said on virtually every page. A brief review cannot do justice to excellencies which are close packed and self-manifesting. One can only say that Coleridge's achievement, which still suffers from the diffusiveness of its survival in letters, notebooks and marginal comments in books, is brought a whole stage further by this study, particularly for readers who have not the time to tease out the scattered insights for themselves.' John Beer, Romanticism on the Net 18 (May 2000) `Do not use this review as a substitute: read the book, one of the best on Coleridge in decades. Perry, a young scholar, writes with deft grace, conversational point and charm, with a density of thought never betrayed by its clarity of expression. Though too strenuous for most beginning students, this is a magnificent examen for those already introduced. Perry displays flair, tact, range, humor, and command of commentary. An active, capacious intelligence here engages a restless, profound one.' James Engell, Romanticism

Note on Texts and Select Bibliography Introduction 1: Coleridge and Division 2: Coleridge's Visions 3: Atoning Plurality: The Mind and the World 4: The Ethics of Imagining 5: Radical Differences: Milton, Shakespeare, Wordsworth Coda. The Incomprehensible Mariner Index

ISBN: 9780198183976
ISBN-10: 0198183976
Series: Oxford English Monographs
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st February 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 2.24
Weight (kg): 0.48