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Ответы к экзамену - Англо-американская литература - файл 1.docx


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The age of Romantics: historical and cultural context

The second half of George III‘s reign was a turbulent period in British history, coinciding as it did with the tau end of a French Revolution whose Ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity had virtually disintegrated in the wake of the guillotine and the Jacobin Terror, and the wars with Napoleon, from which Britain had emerged triumphant — if financially exhausted — in 1815. In the background there lurked the ever present threat of a domestic revolution in the form of a politically unrepresented and increasingly exploited Iabouring class whose immediate post-war predicament — hunger, unemployment and shamefully inadequate housing and working conditions — led to the beginnings of a disorganized, yet nonetheless threatening, protest movement. Protest was not, however, confined to the so-called working class. In Parliament, Whigs and radicals added their voices to a chorus of protest which was to culminate in the reforms of the late 1820s and 1830s, and in particular in the Reform Act of 1832.

Domestic Politics

Initial reactions to the French Revolution in Britain were mixed. William Pitt the Younger‘s Tory-dominated administration (1784-1801) had to contend with a number of influential radicals who initially welcomed the uprising as an opportunity to overthrow definitively what they saw as a corrupt and unfair ancien regime. Early calls tor radical reform — Tom Paine‘s The Rights of Man, written in reply to the conservative Edmund Burke‘s Reflections on the Revolution in France quickly became a bestseller in leading radical circles — were generally stifled as a result of the ‘Jacobin Terror‘, and open sympathy with the ideas of the Revolution became a distinct political liability.

Parliament was still very much dominated by a landowning aristocracy intent on protecting its vested interests. But British parliamentary institutions continued survive and this was due, in part, to the fact that England had already experienced a political revolution, in 1688: the foundations of future governmental democracy had already been laid, and the powers of the monarchy had been reduced considerably. Although inadequately represented in Parliament, the burgeoning middle classes of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth century England had greater access to political and economic power than their French counterparts. In addition, protest movements in the hands of radicals and members of the labouring classes remained fragmentary and painfully disorganized.

A series of repressive political measures accompanied a growing disillusionment with French republicanism among radical sympathizers, because of the violent course lt eventually took. Pitt‘s government suspended Habeas Corpus, and freedom of association was severely restricted by the passing of the Combination Acts in 1799. Stirred out of their apathy, the reactionary conservative element in Parliament effectively Set the clock of radical reform back by 20 years.

^ War with France

Apart from a brief interlude in 1802-3, England remained at war with France from 1793 to 1815. Pitt‘s primary objective in financing a costly war in the form of coalitions abroad (only in the later stages were British troops sent to fight overseas) was not the overthrowing of the Revolutionary government or

Napoleon, but the preservation of the balance of power in Europe and the protection of the interests of British trade. Three French Invasion attempts in the late 1790s proved futile, and despite the mounting costs of the war (covered by heavy tax increases and the introduction of an income tax) the British forces prevailed.

French efforts to prevent England trading with Europe through the so-called Continental System were economically damaging, but ultimately failed because the English navy blockaded the ports lt was not allowed to enter. Admiral Nelson destroyed combined French and Spanish naval forces at Trafalgar in 1805, and the worldwide hegemony of the British navy was not called into question again until after the First World War.

The superiority of the French land forces crumbled with a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Russians, and in 1815 Wellington hammered home the final nah in the coffin of revolutionary despotism, at Waterloo in Belgium.

^ Post-war Britain

Although her worldwide trading interests had been safeguarded — and were to continue to be protected as a result of her naval superiority — Britain gained relatively little from this long and exhausting war. The acquisition of the Cape of Good Hope, Trinidad, Singapore, Ceylon and Malta was of considerable strategic interest, but had to be offset against the enormous financial costs of the war. According to the historian Paul Johnson, the direct costs of the war amounted to £ 831 million and only towards the end of the nineteenth century was public expenditure to reach those levels again. The demobilization of 300,000 troops represented a further problem for the right-wing coalition government of Lord Liverpool in 1815. Indeed, Britain‘s post-war economy was in crisis: severe unemployment, stemming from the sudden fall in demand for British goods, combined with static wages and rising prices to produce an economic slump. The brunt of economic hardship fell on the labouring classes, and social unrest became increasingly acute.

Measures of Reform

The threat of revolution at home and the trials of the Napoleonic wars, were thus to delay serious reforms for thirty years and led to a series of repressive political measures. The reactionary governments of Pitt, and later Liverpool (1812-1827), succeeded in quashing political radicalism, but this rapidly changing a society in the throes of an industrial and agricultural revolution inevitably required some form of political realignment. Concessions indicative of a new political awareness were made towards the end of the 1 820s, albeit with an air of reluctance. In 1825-6 anti-trade union legislation in the form of the Combination Acts was repealed. In Ireland, the electoral success of Catholic political reformer Daniel O‘Connell in 1829 virtually forced the Tory-dominated Parliament to pass the Bill tor Catholic Emancipation: Catholics were to be accorded more or less the same rights as their Protestant counterparts. In the same year Robert Peel created the Civilian Metropolitan Police: known as ‘bobbies‘ after their founder. These new policemen provided an alternative to the army as a means of maintaining public order.

^ The Reform Bill

With the resignation of the Tory Prime Minister Wellington and the accession of William IV (1830-37) after the death of George IV, 1830 proved to be a turning point in British politics. The aristocratic Whig, Earl Grey, formed a government which represented a decisive break with the Tory-dominated governments which had been in power almost uninterruptedly since the 1780s. Grey and his colleagues were committed to some measure of political reform.

The Reform Bill of 1832 constituted a formal recognition on the part of the political establishment that British society had changed. By no means revolutionary in its immediate implications, the Bill was passed despite strong resistance on the part of the Tory-dominated 

second chamber, the House of Lords. lt marked the tentative beginning of a movement away from the political dominance of the mainly agricultural, landowning property classes in favour of the more urban-based, industrial and commercial middle classes. Although it extended the franchise (the right to vote) to some members of the middle classes — tor example, large scale employers such as factory owners — and, at the expense of corrupt and easily purchasable ‘rotten boroughs, provided towns like Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with some form of parliamentary representation, the Bill effectively changed very little. lndeed, the average size of an English borough electorate totalled less than 900 people, and, given that these boroughs continued to return 324 of the 658 members of parliament, the interests represented at Westminster continued to be very much those of the landed gentry.

The labouring classes received no franchise. The passing of the Reform Bill was significant in that it was the first step along the way to universal suffrage, but tor the next fifty years Parliament continued to reflect the interests of property rather than labour. The Whig — or ‘Liberal‘ as it was coming to be known — government was returned at the next General Election and promptly set about a series of other reforms. Partly a sop to an unenfranchized population and a response to pressure for more radical change, it is unclear whether these reforms were inspired by philanthropic and humanitarian considerations or weather they simply sprang from a desire for economy and efficiency. What is certain is that the government of this turbulent period was being forced to come to terms with a new, fast-developing social and economic reality unlike anything seen before in the eighteenth century. Some of the most important reforms are listed below:

1833 — Factory Acts: the employment of children under the age of 9 was forbidden, and investigations into the working conditions of women and children were instigated.

The end of slavery in British colonies. (The slave trade had already been abolished by law in 1807). 1834 — A new and later much despised Poor Law providing workhouses for the homeless was passed. 1835 — Local government was improved under the Municipal Corporations Act: old oligarchies were replaced by elected councils responsible for the running of local government. Dissenters were also given the chance to participate in government.

^ Specific features of romantic poetics: the imagination etc.

The Imagination

Much importance was also attached to the role of the imagination in the creative process. In The Romantic Imagination, Sir Maurice Bowra says, “lf we wish to distinguish a single characteristic which distinguish the English Romantics from the poets of the l8th century, it is to be found in the importance they attached to the imagination anti the special view which they held of it“.

Indeed, the English Romantic poets believed the imagination was a faculty of the mind capable of penetrating the surface reality of human life and apprehending a kind of truth which Iay beyond the powers 01 reason and rational intellect. In exercising the Imagination, the individual was thought to gain access to an infinite world of spiritual reality, a kind of supernatural order whose essential truth anti reality is far removed from the world of simple sensory impressions. The imagination, they claimed, is a source of spiritual energy, and in drawing on its special powers of perception, the poet — for it was above all the poet who understood its workings — shares in an almost divine activity in his re-creation and modification of the external world. Through this faculty poets created and interpreted anew the universe of human experience, confident that their often prophet-like visions revealed or constituted new, yet equally important truths which had little to do with the methods and conclusions of rational, scientific inquiry.

^ IndividuaI Thought and Feeling

This new, subjective vision of reality went band in hand with a much stronger emphasis on individual thought and feeling, lndeed, there is a greater freedom anti intensity of feeling in the verse of poets like Burns, Blake, Wordsworth anti Shelly. Poetry became more introspective and meditative. Increasingly, poets took as their main subject the workings of their own minds, thus introducing an explicitly autobiographical element, which tor many years had been considered inappropriate. Predictably unpopular during much of the eighteenth century, the lyric — written in the first person and well suited to the expression of personal feeling — assumed a new-found importance. The thoughts and experiences of the speaker or ‘voice‘ in Romantic lyrics frequently correspond to those of the poets themselves. Some of the Romantics also chose to isolate themselves from society, believing that solitude was necessary to the fulfillment of their vision. In this they anticipated the idea of the artist as a nonconformist and the feelings of alienation shared by many writers of the modernist age.

^ The Irrational

Together with the new emphasis on self, Romantic writers also dealt with topics anti concerns which formerly had been considered inappropriate. In turning their attentions to the more irrational aspects of human life — the subconscious, mystery and the supernatural, magic and superstition — they enlarged the field of human experience in art, anti demonstrated (with or without the use of narcotics) the range and effectiveness of poetry as a vehicle of feelings and perceptions which were difficult to define under more rational forms of investigation.

Chi1dhood

Childhood provided another source of interest. in terms reminiscent of Rousseau, some writers showed a keen interest in an uncorrupted or childlike view of the world: in not yet having been forced to conform 10 the norms and workings of a rational ‘civilized‘ society, the child and the savage were thought to possess an instinctive kind of knowledge. In its untainted innocence, this knowledge gave rise to a freshness and clarity of vision which the poet himself might aspire to.

^ The Exotic

Some poets felt themselves attracted to the exotic. Distant times and planes became a sort of refuge from the more unpleasant aspects of contemporary society. The Middle Ages in particular served as a source of inspiration in terms of both form (ballads, for example, became a popular verse form once again) and subject matter, continuing a tradition which had begun earlier in the century and which was to last well into Victorian limes.

.Nature

The significance attached to nature in Romantic poetry varied from poet to poet. Nature no longer represented something to be tamed and brought within the precise confines of early-Georgian man‘s love of symmetry and landscaped gardens. lt was instead variously interpreted as representing the real home of man, a beneficial source of comfort and morality and, in a more pantheistic 

vein, the quasi-religious embodiment of the life force — permeated by God and at the same time an expression of His presence in the universe. Nature was sometimes seen as possessing an organic life of its own, and in this more accentuated relationship between man and nature, the aspect and moods of the one were seen to reflect those of the other, The stock phrases and standard conventions of neoclassical poetry were abandoned by writers whose accurate and sensitive descriptions of natural phenomena are a keen testimony 10 their individual visions and powers of observation. lt would not, however, be accurate to suggest that such descriptions were in any way gratuitous, or that Romantic poetry can simply be termed ‘nature poetry‘. Nature, it is true, had become an important subject for poets of the period, yet far from being described merely for its own sake it was seen a providing a stimulus for thought and meditation or as reflecting the inner moods and sentiments of man.

^ Poetic Composition

A renewed interest in the language and form of poetic composition accompanied the spirit of rebellion and innovation which characterized the Romantic period. Ideas as to how a poem evolves had already been circulating for many years. In 1759 Edward Young had published his influential Conjectures on Original Composition, where notions concerning the organic — as opposed to mechanical — nature of composition anticipated those worked out by Coleridge years later.

By the end of the century the reaction against the ‘soft fetters of imitation‘ had reached a high point: ‘poetic diction‘ and the mechanical, artistic devices of neoclassical verse forms were seen to constitute an idea of poetry which was irreconcilable with the ideas of a new language of feeling and individual expression of thought. The early eighteenth-century idea of poetry as a series of strictly defined rules to be assimilated and mastered had reduced the inspired poet to the figure of a skilled craftsman. This was rejected in favour of the idea that poetic form was more organic and subject to the laws of its own nature. “If poetry comes not as naturally as leaves to a tree“, wrote Keats, “lt had better not come at all“. Wordsworth‘s concern that eighteenth-century ‘poetic diction‘ be replaced by a ‘selection of language really used by men‘ was symptomatic of the fierce battle being waged against neo-classical standards.

Even though the language of the early Blake and Wordsworth was undoubtedly simpler and less stylized than that of their predecessors, their later works — together with those of the other Romantic poets — were tar removed from the democratic ideal Wordsworth had advocated. As tor verse forms, there was a turning away from the heroin couplet (much beloved of Dryden, Pope and Johnson) to earlier forms such as the ballad, the sonnet, Italian terza rima and ottava rima: blank verse and, of course, the lyric.

^ 3 Scott, Sir Walter, 1st Baronet

Scottish novelist, poet, historian, and biographer who is often considered both the inventor and the greatest practitioner of the historical novel.

Scott's father was a lawyer and his mother was the daughter of a physician. From his earliest years, Scott was fond of listening to his elderly relatives' accounts and stories of the Scottish Border, and he soon became a voracious reader of poetry, history, drama, and fairy tales and romances. He had a remarkably retentive memory and astonished visitors by his eager reciting of poetry. His explorations of the neighbouring countryside developed in him both a love of natural beauty and a deep appreciation of the historic struggles of his Scottish forebears.

Scott was educated at the high school at Edinburgh and also for a time at the grammar school at Kelso. In 1786 he was apprenticed to his father as writer to the signet, a Scots equivalent of the English solicitor (attorney). His study and practice of law were somewhat desultory, for his immense youthful energy was diverted into social activities and into miscellaneous readings in Italian, Spanish, French, German, and Latin. After a very deeply felt early disappointment in love, he married, in December 1797, Charlotte Carpenter, of a French royalist family, with whom he lived happily until her death in 1826.

In the mid-1790s Scott became interested in German Romanticism, Gothic novels, and Scottish border ballads. His first published work, The Chase, and William and Helen (1796), was a translation of two ballads by the German Romantic balladeer G.A. Bürger. A poor translation of Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen followed in 1799. Scott's interest in border ballads finally bore fruit in his collection of them entitled Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 3 vol. (1802-03). His attempts to "restore" the orally corrupted versions back to their original compositions sometimes resulted in powerful poems that show a sophisticated Romantic flavour. The work made Scott's name known to a wide public, and he followed up his first success with a full-length narrative poem, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), which ran into many editions. The poem's clear and vigorous storytelling, Scottish regionalist elements, honest pathos, and vivid evocations of landscape were repeated in further poetic romances, including Marmion (1808), The Lady of the Lake (1810), which was the most successful of these pieces, Rokeby (1813), and The Lord of the Isles (1815).

Scott led a highly active literary and social life during these years. In 1808 his 18-volume edition of the works of John Dryden appeared, followed by his 19-volume edition of Jonathan Swift (1814) and other works. But his finances now took the first of several disastrous turns that were to partly determine the course of his future career. His appointment as sheriff depute of the county of Selkirk in 1799 (a position he was to keep all his life) was a welcome supplement to his income, as was his appointment in 1806 as clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. But he had also become a partner in a printing (and later publishing) firm owned by James Ballantyne and his irresponsible brother John. By 1813 this firm was hovering on the brink of financial disaster, and although Scott saved the company from bankruptcy, from that time onward everything he wrote was done partly in order to make money and pay off the lasting debts he had incurred. Another ruinous expenditure was the country house he was having built at Abbotsford, which he stocked with enormous quantities of antiquarian objects.

By 1813 Scott had begun to tire of narrative poetry, and the greater depth and verve of Lord Byron's narrative poems threatened to oust him from his position as supreme purveyor of this kind of literary entertainment. In 1813 Scott rediscovered the unfinished manuscript of a novel he had started in 1805, and in the early summer of 1814 he wrote with extraordinary speed almost the whole of his novel, which he titled Waverley. It was one of the rare and happy cases in literary history when something original and powerful was immediately recognized and enjoyed by a large public. A story of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, it reinterpreted and presented 

with living force the manners and loyalties of a vanished Scottish Highland society. The book was published anonymously, as were all of the many novels he wrote down to 1827.

In Waverley and succeeding novels Scott's particular literary gifts could be utilized to their fullest extent. First and foremost, he was a born storyteller who could place a large cast of vivid and varied characters in an exciting and turbulent historical setting. He was also a master of dialogue who felt equally at home with expressive Scottish regional speech and the polished courtesies of knights and aristocrats. His deep knowledge of Scottish history and society and his acute observation of its mores and attitudes enabled him to play the part of a social historian in insightful depictions of the whole range of Scottish society, from beggars and rustics to the middle classes and the professions and on up to the landowning nobility. The attention Scott gave to ordinary people was indeed a marked departure from previous historical novels' concentration on royalty. His flair for picturesque incidents enabled him to describe with equal vigour both eccentric Highland personalities and the fierce political and religious conflicts that agitated Scotland during the 17th and 18th centuries. Finally, Scott was the master of a rich, ornate, seemingly effortless literary style that blended energy with decorum, lyric beauty with clarity of description.

Scott followed up Waverley with a whole series of historical novels set in Scotland that are now known as the "Waverley" novels. Guy Mannering (1815) and The Antiquary (1816) completed a sort of trilogy covering the period from the 1740s to just after 1800. The first of four series of novels published under the title Tales of My Landlord was composed of The Black Dwarf and the masterpiece Old Mortality (1816). These were followed by the masterpieces Rob Roy and The Heart of Midlothian (both 1818), and then by The Bride of Lammermoor and A Legend of Montrose (both 1819). It was only after writing these novels of Scottish history that Scott, driven by the state of his finances and the need to satisfy the public appetite for historical fiction that he himself had created, turned to themes from English history and elsewhere. He thus wrote Ivanhoe (1819), a novel set in 12th-century England and one that remains his most popular book. The Monastery and The Abbot followed in 1820, and The Pirate and The Fortunes of Nigel appeared in 1822. Two more masterpieces were Kenilworth (1821), set in Elizabethan England, and the highly successful Quentin Durward (1823), set in 15th-century France. The best of his later novels are Redgauntlet (1824) and The Talisman (1825), the latter being set in Palestine during the Crusades.

In dealing with the recent past of his native country, Scott was able to find a fictional form in which to express the deep ambiguities of his own feeling for Scotland. On the one hand he welcomed Scotland's union with England and the commercial progress and modernization that it promised to bring, but on the other he bitterly regretted the loss of Scotland's independence and the steady decline of its national consciousness and traditions. Novel after novel in the "Waverley" series makes clear that the older, heroic tradition of the Scottish Jacobite clans (supporters of the exiled Stuart king James II and his descendants) had no place in the modern world; the true heroes of Scott's novels are thus not fighting knights-at-arms but the lawyers, farmers, merchants, and simple people who go about their business oblivious to the claims and emotional ties of a heroic past. Scott became a novelist by bringing his antiquarian and romantic feeling for Scotland's past into relation with his sense that Scotland's interests lay with a prudently commercial British future. He welcomed civilization, but he also longed for individual heroic action. It is this ambivalence that gives vigour, tension, and complexity of viewpoint to his best novels.

Scott's immense earnings in those years contributed to his financial downfall. Eager to own an estate and to act the part of a bountiful laird, he anticipated his income and involved himself in exceedingly complicated and ultimately disastrous financial agreements with his publisher, Archibald Constable, and his agents, the Ballantynes. He and they met almost every new expense with bills discounted on work still to be done; these bills were basically just written promises to pay at a future date. This form of payment was an accepted practice, but the great financial collapse of 1825 caused the four men's creditors to demand actual and immediate payment in cash. Constable was unable to meet his liabilities and went bankrupt, and he in turn dragged down the Ballantynes and Scott in his wake because their financial interests were inextricably intermingled. Scott assumed personal responsibility for both his and the Ballantynes' liabilities and thus courageously dedicated himself for the rest of his life to paying off debts amounting to about 120,000.

Everyone paid tribute to the selfless honesty with which he set himself to work to pay all his huge debts. Unfortunately, though, the corollary was reckless haste in the production of all his later books and compulsive work whose strain shortened his life. After the notable re-creation of the end of the Jacobite era in Redgauntlet, he produced nothing equal to his best early work, though his rapidity and ease of writing remained largely unimpaired, as did his popularity. Scott's creditors were not hard with him during this period, however, and he was generally revered as the grand old man of English letters. In 1827 Scott's authorship of the "Waverley" novels was finally made public. In 1831 his health deteriorated sharply, and he tried a continental tour with a long stay at Naples to aid recovery. He was taken home and died in 1832.

Scott gathered the disparate strands of contemporary novel-writing techniques into his own hands and harnessed them to his deep interest in Scottish history and his knowledge of antiquarian lore. The technique of the omniscient narrator and the use of regional speech, localized settings, sophisticated character delineation, and romantic themes treated in a realistic manner were all combined by him into virtually a new literary form, the historical novel. His influence on other European and American novelists was immediate and profound, and though interest in some of his books declined somewhat in the 20th century, his reputation remains secure.

^ 4. Historical novel

historical novel a novel that has as its setting a period of history and that attempts to convey the spirit, manners, and social conditions of a past age with realistic detail and fidelity (which is in some cases only apparent fidelity) to historical fact. The work may deal with actual historical personages, as does Robert Graves's I, Claudius (1934), or it may contain a mixture of fictional and historical characters. It may focus on a single historic event, as does Franz Werfel's Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1934), which dramatizes the defense of an Armenian stronghold. More often it attempts to portray a broader view of a past society in which great events are reflected by their impact on the private lives of fictional individuals. Since the appearance of the first historical novel, Sir Walter Scott's Waverley (1814), this type of fiction has remained popular. Though some historical novels, such as Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace (1865-69), are of the highest artistic quality, many of them are written to mediocre standards. One type of historical novel is 

the purely escapist costume romance, which, making no pretense to historicity, uses a setting in the past to lend credence to improbable characters and adventures.

^ 6. Wordsworth and Coleridge

Wordsworth

The language of poetry was to consist of "a selection of language really used by man". In bringing his language closer to the everyday language of men, 'poetic diction' - with its artful figures of speech and elevated tone - was to be avoided as much as possible.

The subject of poetry was to consist of "incidents and situations from common life". By this Wordsworth meant "humble, rustic life since under those conditions Man was in closer contact with nature, and in this simple state the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity".

Wordsworth attached great importance to the imagination. Over ordinary incidents, situations and objects the poet "throws a certain colouring of the imagination, whereby ordinary things should be presented to the mind in an unusual aspect". In the hands of the true poet, the imagination was the faculty whereby ordinary objects were in some way transformed to reveal aspects of their inner nature to which the mind is habitually blind.

For Wordsworth the memory was a key element in poetic composition. His famous and oft quoted premise that "all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" is clearly radical in its implications, but it should not be misunderstood as favouring the unrestrained outpouring of emotions. Indeed, the 'spontaneous overflow' occurs at the moment of composition, but only after the feelings have been worked out through a carefully acquired process of prior thought: the feelings to which the poet gives formal body originate from 'emotion recollected in tranquility', that is, they are newly contemplated and organized in the poet's mind through the subjective experience of memory.

Wordsworth was instrumental in undermining the accepted eighteenth-century idea of the poet as a skilled craftsman versed in the dictates of socially acceptable artistic canons. The poet, he says, is "a man speaking to men", but he is also "a man, it is true, endowed with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind". The poet is possessed of a more than usual organic sensibility and his task is not simply to embellish everyday life, but to show other men the essence of things. In this critical sense he is an initiator and not an imitator of truths, a prophet-like figure who, having thought long and deeply about life and its mysteries, is responsible for conveying a new moral message.

Coleridge

Works: In comparison to that of Wordsworth, his more austere and self-disciplined friend and mentor, Coleridge's poetic output was relatively small. He did, however, write a lot of other material, including literary criticism, lectures, plays, journalistic articles, and essays on philosophy, politics and religion. He was also an accomplished translator of German. Coleridge's poetry frequently contains elements of mystery and the supernatural. In Biographia Literaria (1817) he explained the dual task which he and Wordsworth had set themselves in the Lyrical Ballads. to Wordsworth's pre with subjects from of his own task was to extraordinary ever credible way. In its credible mingling of the mysterious are with realism, Coleridge's masterpiece, The F Ancient Mariner, most successfully bear original aims. Coleridge attai importance to the role of the imagination, and essays which accompanied his poetic works с promote the idea of this faculty as the soven in the creative process. In Biographia Li divided the imagination into two - the 'prima 'secondary'. He described the primary image the "living power and prime agent of human | it is the first act of self-consciousness who perception and knowledge possible and is cor mankind". The 'secondary imagination' is 1 imagination which dissolves, diffuses, disciple to re-create": in its interpreting, shaping and of experience, this faculty was fundamental 1 and his vision. The imagination was more important than Wordsworth and Coleridge called 'fancy', inspired and more mechanical faculty also mastery of appropriate images, metaphors deployed in apt manner where required, and the rational law of 'judgment'. In using the imagination Coleridge believed the poet was above eighteenth-century conventions to a mind from the lethargy of custom into which h it had fallen.
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