Four Thoughts from Coleridge

By John Hertz: (reprinted from Vanamonde 1432)  We know Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) mainly as a poet.  There’s The Rhyme (he spelled it Rimeof the Ancient Mariner, and for SF-lovers in particular there’s the sublime fragment “Kubla Khan”, to which SF has paid tribute in “The Person from Porlock” (R.F. Jones, 1947; included in Conklin’s first-rate Treasury) and I suggest also “The Skills of Xanadu” (Sturgeon, 1956; often reprinted).

Coleridge in his day was also known as a critic.  Reading the 1978 Penguin reprint of I.A. Richards ed., The Portable Coleridge (1950) I thought to offer you these.

The arrogance of ignorance

1812, on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet  (p. 421)

As long as there are readers to be delighted with calumny, there will be found reviewers to calumniate.

1817, Biographia Literaria ch. 3  (p. 461)

He who tells me that there are defects in a new work, tells me nothing which I should not have taken for granted without his information.  But he, who points out and elucidates the beauties of an original work, does indeed give me interesting information, such as experience would not have authorized me in anticipating.

(p. 465)

Dante … speaks of poets as guardians of the vast armory of language, which is the intermediate something between matter and spirit.

1818, on The Divine Comedy  (p. 407)

Hoping you are the same.

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