The Critical Prose



The second decade of the nineteenth century saw an extremely complex and much neglected series of changes in Coleridge’s poetic and intellectual development. The miseries and creative decline recorded in ‘Dejection: An Ode’ hang over the early years of the period, reaching a climax with the demise of The Friend and the break with Sara Hutchinson in the winter of 1810–11. On the other hand, it was the period of his most developed literary criticism, including the Shakespeare Lectures of 1811–12 and concluding with the publication of Biographia Literaria in 1817. His study of literature, against the background of contemporary German philosophy and criticism, led him into discussions of aesthetics, history and Christian theology, and are a necessary study as a prelude to considering both his later theological and philosophical writings, and his later poetry.


Aesthetic Judgement Christian Theology Philosophical Writing Creative Imagination Natural Religion 
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  1. 1.
    See Thomas McFarland, ‘The Origin and Significance of Coleridge’s Theory of Secondary Imagination’, in Geoffrey H. Hartman (ed.), New Perspectives on Coleridge and Wordsworth (New York, 1972) pp. 195–246, esp. p. 204.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
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Copyright information

© David Jasper 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hatfield CollegeDurhamUK

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