The Case to Be Made
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The Dejection Ode is a kind of poetry that positions itself midway between writer and reader where issues are presented and assessed without taking sides. At the same time, while the writing reaches after detachment, it has by definition, as poetry, also to please; and the two-fold commitment—to understanding and to feeling—determines the course of the argument that follows. This is outlined as it proceeds chapter by chapter, and touches on the different ways the Ode has been read in the past, its editorial relation to the Letter, the three major dimensions of the style of the Ode, and finally its ideas: how it built a platform for the poems that Coleridge wrote later, and its broader implications.