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Biographia Literaria My Literary Life and Opinions By Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria, or in full Biographia Literaria; or Biographical Sketches of MY LITERARY LIFE and OPINIONS, is an autobiography in discourse by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which he published in 1817, in two volumes. The work is long and seemingly loosely structured, and although there are autobiographical elements, it is not a straightforward or linear autobiography. Instead, it is meditative. The work was originally intended as a mere preface to a collected volume of his poems, explaining and justifying his own style and practice in poetry. The work grew to a literary autobiography, including, together with many facts concerning his education and studies and his early literary adventures, an extended criticism of William Wordsworth's theory of poetry as given in the preface to the Lyrical Ballads (a work on which Coleridge collaborated), and a statement of Coleridge's philosophical views. In the first part of the work Coleridge is mainly concerned with showing the evolution of his philosophic creed. At first an adherent of the associational psychology of David Hartley, he came to discard this mechanical system for the belief that the mind is not a passive but an active agency in the apprehension of reality. The author believed in the "self-sufficing power of absolute Genius" and distinguished between genius and talent as between "an egg and an egg-shell." The discussion involves his definition of the imagination or "esemplastic power," the faculty by which the soul perceives the spiritual unity of the universe, as distinguished from the fancy or merely associative function.
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform, 9781497427594, 272pp.
Publication Date: March 24, 2014
About the Author
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (21 October 1772 - 25 July 1834) was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets. He wrote the poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as the major prose work Biographia Literaria. His critical work, especially on Shakespeare, was highly influential, and he helped introduce German idealist philosophy to English-speaking culture. He coined many familiar words and phrases, including the celebrated suspension of disbelief. He was a major influence on Emerson, and American transcendentalism. Throughout his adult life, Coleridge suffered from crippling bouts of anxiety and depression; it has been speculated by some that he suffered from bipolar disorder, a condition not identified during his lifetime. Coleridge suffered from poor health that may have stemmed from a bout of rheumatic fever and other childhood illnesses. He was treated for these concerns with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.