Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the most complex and richly suggestive writers in English. Poet, philosopher, critic, and, not infrequently, genius, he has left an indelible mark on the history of English poetry and criticism. His major critical work, BIOGRAPHIA LITERARIA, stands as the source of much modern critical theory. With William Wordsworth, Coleridge led the “Romantic revolt” in English poetry. They asserted not only that the source of poetry is the ordinary life and language of men, but also reasserted the validity and beauty of the imagination. Coleridge’s poetry is not voluminous, and the great pieces were nearly all written in a space of from two to five years, but at his best his poems are rich in their concrete, forthright evocation of the psychological and the mysterious.
Coleridge believed in the “feeling heart,” in the spiritual power of the individual imagination to apprehend, in images of beauty, the completeness and harmonious beauty of God’s creation. He was, therefore, the first of the English idealistic Romantics who asserted the primacy of the inner vision in the face of eighteenth century theories of materialism and mechanical, sense-bound perception. He derived from the German idealists, notably the Schlegels and Schelling and through them, Kant, many of his ideas of reason and imaginative vision, both of which qualities free men from bondage to the senses alone.
His earlier poetry is notable...
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