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BiographiaLiteraria­Wikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

BiographiaLiteraria

FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

BiographiaLiteraria,orinfullBiographiaLiteraria; orBiographicalSketchesofMYLITERARYLIFE andOPINIONS,isanautobiographyindiscourseby SamuelTaylorColeridge,whichhepublishedin

1817,intwovolumes.

Ithastwenty­three(23)chapters.

Contents

1StructureandtoneContents 2Content 3Criticalreaction 4References 5Bibliography 6Externallinks

2ContentContents 1Structureandtone 3Criticalreaction 4References 5Bibliography 6Externallinks

3CriticalreactionContents 1Structureandtone 2Content 4References 5Bibliography 6Externallinks

4ReferencesContents 1Structureandtone 2Content 3Criticalreaction 5Bibliography 6Externallinks

5BibliographyContents 1Structureandtone 2Content 3Criticalreaction 4References 6Externallinks

6ExternallinksContents 1Structureandtone 2Content 3Criticalreaction 4References 5Bibliography

Structureandtone

Theworkislongandseeminglylooselystructured,

andalthoughthereareautobiographicalelements,itis

notastraightforwardorlinearautobiography.Instead,

itismeditative.

BiographiaLiteraria

Author Language Published SamuelTaylorColeridge English 1817

Author

Language

Published

1817

Content

Theworkwasoriginallyintendedasamereprefacetoacollectedvolumeofhispoems,explainingand

justifyinghisownstyleandpracticeinpoetry.Theworkgrewtoaliteraryautobiography,including,

togetherwithmanyfactsconcerninghiseducationandstudiesandhisearlyliteraryadventures,an

InthefirstpartoftheworkColeridgeismainlyconcernedwithshowingtheevolutionofhisphilosophic

creed.AtfirstanadherentoftheassociationalpsychologyofDavidHartley,hecametodiscardthis

mechanicalsystemforthebeliefthatthemindisnotapassivebutanactiveagencyintheapprehension

ofreality.Theauthorbelievedinthe"self­sufficingpowerofabsoluteGenius"anddistinguished

betweengeniusandtalentasbetween"aneggandanegg­shell".Thediscussioninvolveshisdefinition

oftheimaginationor“esemplasticpower,”thefacultybywhichthesoulperceivesthespiritualunityof

theuniverse,asdistinguishedfromthefancyormerelyassociativefunction.

Thebookhasnumerousessaysonphilosophy.Inparticular,itdiscussesandengagesthephilosophyof

German,ColeridgewasoneofthefirstmajorEnglishliteraryfigurestotranslateanddiscussSchelling,

inparticular.

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BiographiaLiteraria­Wikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Thelaterchaptersofthebookdealwiththenatureofpoetryandwiththequestionofdictionraisedby

Wordsworth.WhilemaintainingageneralagreementwithWordsworth'spointofview,Coleridge

elaboratelyrefuteshisprinciplethatthelanguageofpoetryshouldbeonetakenwithdueexceptions

fromthemouthsofmeninreallife,andthattherecanbenoessentialdifferencebetweenthelanguageof

proseandofmetricalcomposition.AcritiqueonthequalitiesofWordsworth'spoetryconcludesthe

volume.

ThebookcontainsColeridge'scelebratedandvexeddistinctionbetween“imagination”and“fancy”.

ChapterXIVistheoriginofthefamouscriticalconceptofa“willingsuspensionofdisbelief”.

Criticalreaction

CriticshavereactedstronglytotheBiographiaLiteraria.Earlyreactionswerethatitwasa

demonstrationofColeridge'sopiate­drivendeclineintoillhealth.Recentre­evaluationshavegivenit

morecredit.WhilecontemporarycriticsrecognizethedegreetowhichColeridgeborrowedfromhis

sources(withstraightliftsfromSchelling),theyalsoseeintheworkfarmorestructureandplanning

thanisapparentonfirstglance.

References

Thisarticleincorporatestextfromapublicationnowinthepublicdomain:JamesH.Hanford

(1920)."BiographiaLiteraria".InRines,GeorgeEdwin.EncyclopediaAmericana.

Bibliography

Externallinks

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