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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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Coleridge's Sonnets from Various Authors (1796 ): A Lost Conversation Poem?

Coleridge's Sonnets from Various Authors (1796 ): A Lost Conversation Poem?

(p.192) 8 Coleridge's Sonnets from Various Authors (1796): A Lost Conversation Poem?
Organising Poetry

David Fairer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In Autumn 1796, Coleridge assembled this privately printed pamphlet of twenty-eight sonnets by twelve poets, including four each by Southey, Lloyd, Lamb, and himself, and designed it to be bound up with the sonnets of William Lisle Bowles, who for Coleridge had created ‘a sweet and indissoluble union between the intellectual and the material world’ in poems that ‘domesticate with the heart’. The collection is viewed as an attempt by Coleridge to engage with the fraught domestic and personal problems of his friends Lamb and Lloyd, who were both in crisis. The chapter argues that it is an organised collection with a structured argument and a directed message, and that the result is virtually a ‘lost’ Conversation Poem, a dramatic ‘converse’ meditating on themes of self and society, friendship and social action, and moving from single lonely thoughts to a more integrated sense of ‘one common life’.

Keywords:   sonnet, Bowles, Coleridge, Southey, Lamb, Lloyd, Conversation Poem, converse

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