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By Ewan James Jones

Ewan James Jones argues that Coleridge engaged most importantly with philosophy now not via systematic argument, yet in verse. Jones includes this argument via a chain of sustained shut readings, either one of canonical texts resembling Christabel and The Rime of the traditional Mariner, and in addition of much less frequent verse, equivalent to Limbo. Such paintings indicates that the fundamental components of poetic expression - a poem's metre, rhythm, rhyme and different such formal positive factors - enabled Coleridge to imagine in an unique and particular demeanour, which his systematic philosophy impeded. Attentiveness to such formal beneficial properties, which has for it slow been ignored in Coleridge scholarship, allows a rethinking of the connection among eighteenth-century verse and philosophy extra generally, because it engages with concerns together with have an effect on, materiality and self-identity. Coleridge's poetic pondering, Jones argues, either consolidates and radicalises the present literary severe rediscovery of shape

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Extra resources for Coleridge and the philosophy of poetic form

Sample text

A lulled passivity is induced from the start, less through the gently rocking rhythm of ‘beside our cot, our cot’, than through the postponement and spare rationing of verbs. It is only at the end of the second line that we find the first bare auxiliary ‘is’, and the subsequent full infinitive ‘to sit’ then gives rise to another two lines of verblessness. By the time we reach ‘[a]nd watch’, ‘and mark’, we are more than likely to have forgotten the logical but long-gone start of the clause, concerning ‘how soothing sweet it is’.

The subsequent poems in the sequence reveal just how fleeting such a moment would prove. Those ‘phantasies’ are the product of a form of sensuous experience that delights in the successive dissolution and reconstitution of the material world. In order to reach this middle-passage, with its speculations on the affinities between ‘subject lute’ and ‘passive brain’, we have already Interruption in the conversation poem sequence 21 negotiated another juxtaposition of caesura and the conjunction ‘and’, this time between verse paragraphs: Where the breeze warbles, and the mute still air Is Music slumbering on her instrument.

And this fact indicates the more significant irony: that Sara’s ‘darting eye’ somehow confirms Coleridge’s abstruser musings, at the very point it would seem to indict them. Having been depicted in the very first line as introspectively ‘pensive’, Sara’s attunement is now so total that she can wordlessly both comprehend and reproach her equally silent husband. In a world of passive things become animated, she is only the latest silent being to speak. While her rejoinder seems to indicate the perils of abstract thought, its spontaneous communication is in reality neither ‘bodily’ nor ‘spiritual’, but reprises the material patterning of the poem.

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