Coleridge, Language and the Sublime: From Transcendence to by Christopher Stokes (auth.)

By Christopher Stokes (auth.)

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Additional resources for Coleridge, Language and the Sublime: From Transcendence to Finitude

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Another personification, Love, hatches a plot and, by firing a magic arrow, keeps the poet bound to the dream images of sleep: Was there some Magic in the Elfin’s dart? Or did he strike my couch with wizard lance? For strait so fair a Form did upwards start (No fairer deck’d the Bowers of old Romance) Longinus and Coleridge’s Effusions 31 That Sleep enamour’d grew, nor mov’d from his sweet Trance! 32–6) This parodic Spenserian style allows the speaker to excuse his actions through gentle humour: by portraying the dream as a bewitchment from ‘old Romance’, it becomes an elaborate and somewhat endearing justification for missing his rendezvous.

Imitation in ‘Effusion XXIV’ is used to buttress the theme of artificiality: the possession of Coleridge’s own voice by the Spenserian mode suggests and mirrors the entrancement of the speaker by dream images. If this is so, however, does the same suggestion of possession – the lyric self imagining its way into itself – not apply to the other imitations? 29 If, as Coleridge’s preface proclaims, the poems are built on a foundation of subjective sincerity – a language springing from real passion, unmediated as far as possible by mere learnt conventions – then how can imitations possibly earn the title of effusion?

Indeed, the autonomy of the sublime voice becomes associated with a number of regrets and repudiations. 62). ‘France: An Ode’ proves in a political register what was lurking close to the surface in the treatment of fancy in the 1796 Poems: that an effusive ego might The Impassioned Self in the 1798 Quarto 43 become a solipsistic victim to its own dreams. In distinct contrast to the sublimely individual tenacity of the prophetic voice are scenes of listening that open the poet to self-chastisement.

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