Coleridge and "The Friend", 1809-10

Coleridge and "The Friend", 1809-10

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This study discusses Coleridge's early, unrevised journal "The friend" (1809 - 1810) which was issued as a newspaper from the Lake District. The work went virtually unnoticed, leading Coleridge to speak of it in later life as a well-kept "secret". The author reconstructs the personal and intellectual background of Coleridge's journal, focusing particularly on the circumstances surrounding its production, Coleridge's uneasy debut as a government apologist, and his debts to a tradition of English conservatism. The book looks at the impact of two people upon the production of "The friend": Sara Hutchinson, to whom Coleridge dictated the journal and the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson, whose influence in Quaker circles brought in many of Coleridge's subscribers. Drawing on unpublished manuscript sources for new information about Coleridge's readership, Dr Coleman explores the journal's problematic relations with its readers. She shows the part played by Hooker and Burke in Coleridge's political theory, and in his toleration of political expediency and reveals hitherto unrecognized affinity between Kant's political arguments and those of "The friend".
The author argues that whilst Coleridge aims to demonstrate the supreme importance of religious values in the political realm, in "The friend" he fails to achieve a balance between the claims of moral justice and a fervent nationalism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 242 pages
  • 140 x 200 x 19.05mm | 445g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198129572
  • 9780198129578

Table of contents

Abbreviations. Editorial symbols in letters and notebooks. Introduction. Some unresolved conflicts; Coleridge and Sara Hutchinson - the failure of idealism; false starts and new beginnings; metaphysics and the new theodicy; Coleridge's Quaker subscribers; the conservative tradition - Hooker and Burke; the Enlightenment tradition - Kant and Rousseau; religion and politics - the Gordian knot. Conclusion. Appendix of subscribers. Bibliography. Index.
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Review quote

"She adds crucially to our understanding of the psychological roots of Coleridge's divided allegiance to Kant, and has brilliant analyses of Coleridge's essentially conservative and hierarchical concept of the 'active' reader. This is a book for specialists, but for them it will be indispensable."--Virginia Quarterly Review"An important contribution to one of the signal accomplishments of this book, its demonstration that The Friend intertwines philosophical with personal dilemmas at every point of the planning, thought, and composition."--Journal of English & Germanic Philology"Much of Colemen's work will be of interest to period specialists, but even advanced undergraduates will find this study a worthwhile approach to the profundity of Coleridgean thought."--Choice
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