Coleridge and Shelley by Sally West

By Sally West

Sally West's well timed examine is the 1st book-length exploration of Coleridge's impression on Shelley's poetic improvement. starting with a dialogue of Shelley's perspectives on Coleridge as a guy and as a poet, West argues that there's a direct correlation among Shelley's wish for political and social transformation and how within which he appropriates the language, imagery, and types of Coleridge, usually remodeling their unique that means via refined readjustments of context and emphasis. whereas she situates her paintings when it comes to contemporary innovations of literary impact, West is concentrated much less at the psychology of the poets than at the poetry itself.She explores how components similar to the improvement of images and the alternative of poetic shape, usually learnt from prior poets, are in detail with regards to poetic goal. hence on one point, her ebook explores how the second-generation Romantic poets reacted to the ideals and beliefs of the 1st, whereas on one other it addresses the bigger query of the way poets turn into poets, by way of returning the paintings of 1 author to the literary context from which it built. Her e-book is vital studying for experts within the Romantic interval and for students attracted to theories of poetic effect.

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15 Although Coleridge’s comments initially imply that Shelley’s association with Southey could be characterized as that of an impressionable schoolboy who ‘fell in’ with a bad crowd, the overwhelming tone of the remarks is one of empathy. Coleridge regrets the lost opportunity to offer sympathy and guidance, and his words suggest a felt affinity for the young poet in his philosophical endeavours. Although one wonders whether Shelley would have appreciated having his atheism ‘laughed at’, Coleridge paints himself here, in contrast to Southey, as one who could understand and tolerate opinions which diverged from his own.

By the time he repeated Southey’s comment about the only difference between them being their respective ages to another addressee in January 1812, he had hardened his heart. Southey is ‘now the servile champion of every abuse and absurdity ... I do not feel the least disposition to be Mr. 16 Here the correspondent is significant. Disillusioned by Southey, and finding Wordsworth and Coleridge unforthcoming, Shelley was to address his hopes and present his plans to a new ‘great character’: the philosopher William Godwin.

1, p. 231. 17 Letters, vol. 1, pp. 232–3, 249. 18 For Southey’s part, his interest in the young poet appears if slightly indulgent, certainly genuine. Writing to Charles Danvers in 1812 of Shelley’s appearance at Keswick, Southey’s tone consists of a mixture of humour and genuine affection when describing Shelley’s publication of The Necessity of Atheism: ‘For happening to have a great deal of genius, a great deal of enthusiasm, and high notions of sincerity and virtue he thought that having discovered truths of such infinite utility to mankind it was his bounden duty to disseminate them’.

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