Coleridge's Poetry Summary with Gillman, Coleridge composed many of his important non-fiction works, including the highly regarded Biographia Literaria. The following year Biographia Literaria, a fusion of autobiography, literary criticism, and religious and philosophical theory, was published. biographia literaria by samuel coleridge samuelmtaylormcoleridgemintendedmbiographia literariamtombemamshortmprefacemtomamcollectionmofmhism.


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Any text you add should be original, not copied from other sources. And as a particular pleasure is found in biographia literaria summary the biographia literaria summary of sounds and quantities, all compositions that have this charm superadded, whatever be their contents, may be entitled poems.

Biographia Literaria

So much for the superficial form. A difference of object and contents supplies an additional ground of distinction.


The immediate purpose may be the communication of truths; either of truth absolute and demonstrable, as in works of science; or of facts experienced and recorded, as in history. Pleasure, and that of the highest and most permanent kind, may result from the attainment of the end; but it is biographia literaria summary itself the immediate end.

In other works the communication of pleasure may be the immediate purpose—and biographia literaria summary truth either moral or intellectual, ought to be the ultimate end, yet this will distinguish the character of the author, not the class to which the work belongs.

Blessed indeed is that state of society, in which the immediate purpose would be baffled by the perversion of the proper ultimate end; in which no charm of diction or imagery could exempt the Bathyllus even of an Anacreon, or the Biographia literaria summary of Virgil, from disgust and aversion!

From Biographia Literaria, Chapter XIV by Samuel Taylor Coleridge | Poetry Foundation

But the communication of pleasure may be the immediate object of a work not metrically composed; and that object may have been in a high degree attained, as in novels and romances. Would then the mere superaddition biographia literaria summary metre, with or without rhyme, entitle these to the name of poems?

The answer is, that biographia literaria summary can permanently please, which does not contain in itself the reason why it is so, and not otherwise. If metre be superadded, all other parts must be made consonant with it.

They must be such, as to justify the perpetual and distinct attention to each biographia literaria summary, which an exact correspondent recurrence of accent and sound are calculated to excite.

Biographia Literaria Summary

The final definition then so deduced, may be thus worded. A poem is that species of composition, which is opposed to works of science, by proposing for its immediate object pleasure; not truth; and from all other species having this object in common with it it is discriminated by proposing to itself such delight from the whole, as is compatible with a distinct ratification from each component part.

Controversy is not seldom excited in consequence of the disputants attaching each a different meaning to the same word; and in few instances has this been more striking, than in disputes concerning the present subject. If a man chooses to call every composition a poem, which is rhyme, or measure, or both, I must leave his opinion uncontroverted.

If it were subjoined, that the whole is likewise entertaining or affecting, as a tale, or as a series of interesting reflections, Biographia literaria summary of course admit this as another fit ingredient of a poem, and an additional merit. But if the definition sought for be that of a legitimate poem, I answer, it must be one, the parts of which mutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonizing with, and supporting the purpose and known influences of metrical arrangement.

The philosophic critics of all ages coincide with the ultimate judgment of all countries, in equally denying the praises of a just poem, on the one hand, to a series biographia literaria summary striking lines or distichs, each of which absorbing the whole attention of the reader to itself disjoins it from its context, and makes it a separate whole, instead of an harmonizing part; and on the other hand, to an unsustained composition, from which the reader collects rapidly the general result unattracted by the component parts.

Biographia Literaria | work by Coleridge |

The reader should be carried forward, not merely or chiefly by the mechanical impulse of curiosity, or by a restless desire to arrive at the final solution; but by the pleasurable activity of mind excited by the attractions of the journey itself.

Like the motion of a serpent, which the Egyptians made the emblem of intellectual biographia literaria summary or like the path of sound through the air; at every step he pauses and half recedes, and from the retrogressive movement collects the force which again carries him onward.

Precipitandus est liber spiritus [the free spirit must be hurried onward—ed. The later chapters of the book deal with the nature of poetry and with the question of diction raised by Wordsworth.

While maintaining a general agreement with Wordsworth's point of view, Coleridge elaborately refutes his principle that the language of poetry should be biographia literaria summary taken with due exceptions from the mouths of men in real life, and that there can be no essential difference between the language of prose and of metrical composition.

A critique on the qualities of Wordsworth's poetry concludes the volume. Critical reaction[ edit ] Critics have reacted strongly to the Biographia Literaria.