I first stumbled upon George Whalley’s ‘The Mariner and the Albatross’ more than twenty years ago. It certainly didn’t resemble a Brooks and Warren exercise in close textual analysis, and I doubt whether I could have said then why I found it memorable. Those graduate schooldays were too much taken up with an instinctive recoil from the ‘perverse, ingenious, desolate’ (p.43) gospel of Northrop Frye that held sway at the University of Western Ontario. There was no one to direct me to Professor Whalley’s wonderfully just and prophetic review of The Anatomy of Criticism, from which I borrow this judgement. Many years later, when I finally came to teach my first course in the history of literary criticism, I knew just enough to seek out his ‘On Translating Aristotle’s Poetics’. It served me well as goad and guide to a fresh understanding of long familiar passages I mistakenly assumed to be within my grasp. The critical rationale for this book is simply this: if these, the first three essays in the volume, have helped me find my way, then they and the balance of the selection, may do the same for a generation of students and teachers who, whether they realise it or not, desperately need an alternative to structuralism, semiotics and deconstruction.
KeywordsPast Participle Verbal Noun Critical Rationale Present Participle Speaking Voice
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- 1.Letters of Charles and Mary Lamb, ed. E. V. Lucas (London, 1935) 1, 240.Google Scholar
- 2.Ibid., 1, 185.Google Scholar
- 3.Ibid., 11, 191.Google Scholar
- 4.Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge [hereafter referred to as CL], ed. E. L. Griggs (Oxford, 1956–71) IV, 975 (? Nov 1819).Google Scholar
- Coleridge may be thinking of his ‘Allegoric Vision’ — The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. E. H. Coleridge (Oxford, 1912) 11, 1091–6. This prose allegory, written August 1795, was successively used for an attack on the Church of England, for an attack on the Church of Rome, and in the introduction to A Lay Sermon: Addressed to the Higher and Middle Classes. In the ‘Allegoric Vision’ Coleridge does not in any sense allegorise himself.Google Scholar
- 5.For a consideration of the place of opium as inducing Coleridge’s ‘Bad most shocking Dreams’, as an element in the composition of ‘The Ancient Mariner’, and specifically as a factor in the image of Life-in-Death, see R. C. Bald, ‘Coleridge and “The Ancient Mariner”’, in Nineteenth-Century Studies, ed. H. Davis, W. C. De Vane and R. C. Bald (Ithaca, NY, 1940).Google Scholar
- 13.Too little is known of the date of composition of the gloss, and of the process of revision. For the date of important revisions to ‘The Ancient Mariner’, see J. L. Lowes, The Road to Xanadu, rev. edn (Boston, Mass., and New York, 1930) pp. 475–6. For successive changes in the ‘Courts of the Sun’ gloss, see ibid., pp. 164ff.Google Scholar
- 14.Cf. Edmund Blunden in Coleridge: Studies by Several Hands on the Hundredth Anniversary of His Death, ed. E. Blunden and E. L. Griggs (London, 1934) p. 66: ‘I sometimes wonder whether, germinally, the “Ancient Mariner” altogether is not one of his Christ’s Hospital poems. I mean … that he had to travel through a long period of haunted solitariness.’Google Scholar
- 17.CL, I, 369 (6 Jan 1798). Cf. The Notebooks of Samuel Taylor Coleridge [hereafter referred to as CN], ed. Kathleen Coburn (New York and London, 1957–72) III, 3324: ‘when I am in company with Mr Sharp [et al.] … I feel like a Child — nay, rather like an Inhabitant of another Planet — their very faces all act upon me, sometimes, as if they were Ghosts, but more often as if I were a Ghost among them — at all times, as if we were not consubstantial’.Google Scholar
- 44.Cf. T. S. Eliot, The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism (London, 1933) p. 69, where the eagle is used as the symbol of the creative imagination. Coleridge also seems to be using the symbol in an epigram of 1807 in reply to Poole’s encouragement: ‘Let Eagle bid the Tortoise sunward rise — / As vainly Strength speaks to a broken mind’ (Poetical Works, II, 1001). Cf. Shelley’s description of Coleridge as ‘a hooded eagle among blinking owls.’Google Scholar
- 45.The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, ed. E. de Selincourt and Helen Darbishire (Oxford, 1940–9) 1, 360–1.Google Scholar
- 62.Thomas Carlyle, The Life of John Sterling, in Complete Works of Thomas Carlyle (New York, 1853) xx, 60.Google Scholar