Download PDF by John Spencer Hill: A Coleridge Companion: An Introduction to the Major Poems

By John Spencer Hill

ISBN-10: 1349037982

ISBN-13: 9781349037988

ISBN-10: 1349038008

ISBN-13: 9781349038008

ISBN-10: 2062062222

ISBN-13: 9782062062226

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35 Instrumental in this centrifugal identification is Coleridge's relationship with Lamb, whose experience is an analogue of his own. As Lamb, long in 'the great City pent', has had to win his way through evil and strange calamity36 with patient soul, so too Coleridge, imprisoned in self-pity, has had to work his way through a descent to light - from the lime-tree bower, through the dark and narrow dell, to the open landscape stretching beneath the wide wide heaven. And it is his warm feeling for Lamb, his vicarious participation in his friend's joy, that is the motivating factor in this spiritual growth.

Unfortunately, however, the imaginatively realised mountain sequence (which is the one instance of fine writing in the poem) is only tenuously connected to the opening verse-paragraph and is disastrously severed from the paragraphs which follow it. In the last two sections, having voluntarily cast aside his visionary mantle, Coleridge enters the arena of public action; and in this world, as Richard Haven points out, 'the visionary moment seems unreal or unimportant': 'the remembered moment has no ...

There are two structural patterns at work in this passage (lines 12-33). First, there is a widening of vision, a diastolic expansion The Conversation Poems 27 that takes the poet from his cottage into the cosmos, from his immediate physical situation into a metaphysical perception of unity in multeity. Second, there is a movement from simile to metaphor - a movement, that is, from fanciful approximation to full imaginative participation in the One Life within and around him. What is particularly remarkable is the way in which these two patterns are interwoven and the way in which the imagery becomes, paradoxically, more sensuous as it becomes more dematerialised.

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A Coleridge Companion: An Introduction to the Major Poems and the Biographia Literaria by John Spencer Hill


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