Coleridge and the Concept of Nature by Raimonda Modiano

By Raimonda Modiano

Coleridge and the idea that of Nature:

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It must also be noted that some of Coleridge's most eloquent statements regarding nature's indispensable influence on man are permeated by a mood of hopelessness and despair that certainly detracts from the overall force of such statements. The following notebook entry written in 1809 will serve as a good example: O! Heaven! one thousandfold combinations of Images that pass hourly in this divine Vale, while I am dozing & muddling away my Thoughts & Eyes -0 let me rouse myself - If I even begin mechanically, & only by aid of memory look round and call each thing by a name -describe it, as a trial of skill in words -it may bring back fragments of former Feeling - For we can live only by feeding abroad.

Richards put it. P Coleridge did not publish 'Christabel' until sixteen years after he had begun it, and then only perhaps because Byron urged him to do so. 15 It was also not until 1817 that Coleridge included the revised version of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' in a volume of his own poetry (Sibylline Leaves). P is not, therefore, surprising. Coleridge could not bring himself to repeat the creative effort which, in Wordsworth's opinion, resulted in a poetry of questionable quality and taste.

A year earlier Coleridge extracted from Christian Garve's essay 'Uber einige Schonheiten der Gebirgsgegenden' ['On Some Beauties of Mountainous Regions'] a similar observation pertaining to the effect of distant and high objects. In mountain regions, he noted, 'you have a continual Inducement to look forward to the distance . . ' Hence such words as 'to look down upon', to comprehend, to be above, to look forward to, are all metaphors that shew in the original feeling a resemblance to the moral meaning christened thereafter' (CN, I, 1675).

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