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Organising PoetryThe Coleridge Circle, 1790-1798$
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David Fairer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199296163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199296163.001.0001

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(p.309) Postscript
Organising Poetry

David Fairer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A brief postscript examines the 1798 text of ‘Frost at Midnight’ and the changes Coleridge later made to it (in 1812, 1817, and 1829). The poem exemplifies, through its use of modulation, juxtaposition, and accommodation, the ‘organic’ features described in this book, particularly its presentation of a continuing consciousness that spans discontinuity and makes connections through time and space. The later revisions, however, move it towards a unifying symbolism, and in doing so compromise its original organic character. This analysis is introduced by a glance forward to February 1801, to the metaphysical Coleridge beyond the remit of this book. He is seen in a state of high agitation, making a thorough study of Locke, refuting his Essay, ‘overthrowing’ Hartley, and attacking the whole basis of empirical philosophy. At the same time he is studying the metaphysics of Fichte and projecting the ultimate metaphysical work of his own.

Keywords:   Coleridge, Locke, Hartley, Fichte, metaphysics, Frost at Midnight, organic

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