Hysteria In Nineteenth-Century Poetry
Karen Swann (essay date 1984)
SOURCE: "'Christabel': The Wandering Mother and the Enigma of Form," in Studies in Romantcism, Vol. 23, No. 4, Winter, 1984, pp. 533-53.
[In the following excerpt, Swann asserts that in "Christabel" Coleridge explores the complex and multifaceted relations between hysteria—as a socially disruptive moment—and the Law—as masculine, rational control through social conventionality.]
The first questions Christabel asks Geraldine refer to identity and origins: "who art thou?" and "how camest thou here?" Geraldine's response is oblique; in effect she replies, "I am like you, and my story is like...
(The entire section is 21755 words.)