Coleridge on Powers in Mind and Nature

  • Dorothy Emmet


Coleridge’s philosophy tends to be an embarrassment to the admirers of his poetry — or indeed a matter of resentment. Wordsworth hinted that it killed the poet in him and Quiller Couch said so explicitly:

He had landed in Germany a poet … he embarked from Germany not yet perhaps the ‘archangel a little damaged’ (as Charles Lamb described him some sixteen or seventeen years later) but already — and worse for us — a poet lost. … The man came back to England intensely and furiously preoccupied with metaphysics. This, I suggest and neither opium, nor Mrs. Coleridge’s fretfulness, was the main reason why he could not recall his mind to poetry.1

Others have suggested that it was a way of propping up the faith he desperately felt in need of — Carlyle, for instance, had his taunt about 4 transcendental life-preservers, logical swimbladders’.2


Dynamic Power Organic Life Thought Form Creative Power Water Snake 
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  1. 1.
    Introduction to Biographia Literaria, ed. G. Sampson (1920) pp. xxiv and xxviii.Google Scholar
  2. 16.
    I. A. Richards, Coleridge on Imagination (1934) p. 60.Google Scholar
  3. 22.
    A. N. Whitehead, Aims of Education (1932) p. 2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Beer 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dorothy Emmet

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