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Please help me understand Chapter 11 of the Biographia Literaria by Samuel Taylor...

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user5198694 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:58 AM via web

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Please help me understand Chapter 11 of the Biographia Literaria by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 24, 2013 at 9:14 AM (Answer #1)

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In writing Biogrphia Literaria, Coleridge wanted to express his beliefs on the true nature of poetry and how it requires a poet to embrace all his own philosophies, understanding, imagination and truths in creating poetry.; "to define with the utmost impartiality the real poetic character of the poet ." He rambles somewhat and the work thus becomes quite difficult to interpret at times.

Chapter 11, as with chapter 10, is a more personal account from Coleridge and makes no attempt to be objective. Whilst it may seem diversionary, Coleridge wants to advise anyone who is inclined to consider writing poetry or become an author and he provides encouragement by urging the youth to write because it is a calling and not for money which is "an arbitrary and accidental end" to an author's efforts.

Coleridge stresses that, if writing is your "labor of the day" then you will not be able to surrender yourself to your writing as you will be too concerned with providing for your family.  Family can be a blessing and an inspiration in the right circumstances. Men who carry on an occupation and write for the purposes of release and reflection, are far-more respected that someone who is "a mere literary man." Whatever a position a man may hold. whether it be for religious persuasion or otherwise, he mentions that basically a mna's place is in business and a woman's in the home but is cautious in saying so.  

Although Coleridge holds William Wordsworth in the highest esteem, he does disagree that word use, diction, should be so "commonplace" and urges authors to consider higher accolades and to be aware of temptations.

Coleridge concludes with a quotation from Herder which eludes to the empty words and phrases that emanate from those insincere authors who neither learn from their peers nor apply themselves, rendering any one of them "a mere journeyman."

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