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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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Between Youth and Age: Coleridge's ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’, 1790–6

Between Youth and Age: Coleridge's ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’, 1790–6

(p.138) 6 Between Youth and Age: Coleridge's ‘Monody on the Death of Chatterton’, 1790–6
Organising Poetry

David Fairer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at how Coleridge repeatedly reorganised his early ‘Monody’, in 1790, 1794, and 1796, in the context of the many poetic representations of Chatterton written during the thirty years after his death in 1770. Coleridge was faced with a range of choices, and the chapter examines how he negotiated them, especially how the manly, embodied, satiric Chatterton of the 1790 poem became the diminutive, evanescent, isolated figure of the 1794 version. This poet-figure became infused with Coleridge's own tensions and contradictions, raising issues about poetry's engagement with politics and history, and the problem of reconciling ideas and their embodiment. Coleridge's links to the tradition of 18th-century sensibility provided him with more radical possibilities than the ‘romantic’ child of 1794. Coleridge's final vision of Chatterton accompanying Southey and himself to America reveals some of the ambiguities at the heart of their Pantisocracy project of 1794.

Keywords:   Coleridge, Chatterton, Rowley, Sensibility, monody, Pantisocracy, Flaxman, Hardinge

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