One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reading: S. T. Coleridge's Letters

Still enjoying Coleridge's letters. He's now in the Lake District, at Keswick (I've always wanted to return to the L.D., so this might be a small beginning to another trip). Will peck out a meaty (or drug induced) excerpt of a letter from Coleridge to Thomas Poole (a lifelong friend), and then get to my more mundane work: collecting data to answer questions re what I pretty much already know better than the numbers can communicate. :)


To Thomas Poole
Monday, March 16, 1801

My dear Friend, -- The interval since my last letter has been filled up by me in the most intense study. If I do not greatly delude myself, I have not only completely extricated the notions of time and space, but have overthrown the doctrine of association, as taught by Hartley, and with it all the irreligious metaphysics of modern infidels -- especially the doctrine of necessity. This I have done; but I trust that I am about to do more -- namely, that I shall be able to evolve all the five senses, that is, to deduce them from one sense, and to state their growth and the causes of their difference, and in this evolvement to solve the process of life and consciousness. I write this to you only, and I pray you, mention what I have written to no one. At Wordsworth's advice, or rather fervent entreaty, I have intermitted the pursuit. The intensity of thought, and the number of minute experiments with light and figure, have made me so nervous and feverish that I cannot sleep as long as I ought and have been used to do; and the sleep which I have is made up of ideas so connected, and so little different from the operations of reason, that it does not afford me the due refreshment. I shall therefore take a week's respite, and make "Christabel" ready for the press; which I shall publish by itself, in order to get rid of all my engagements with Longman. My German Book I have suffered to remain suspended chiefly because the thoughts which had employed my sleepless nights during my illness were imperious over me; and though poverty was staring me in the face, yet I dared behold my image miniature in the pupil of her hollow eye, so steadily did I look her in the face; for it seemed to me a suicide of my very soul to divert my attention from the truths so important, which came to me almost as a revelation. Likewise, I cannot express to you, dear Friend of my heart! the loathing which I once or twice felt when I attempted to write, merely for the bookseller, without any sense of the moral utility of what I was writing. I shall therefore, as I said, immediately publish my "Christabel," with two essays annexed to it, on the "Preternatural" and on "Metre." -- This done, I shall propose to Longman, instead of my Travels (which, though nearly done, I am exceedingly anxious not to publish, because it brings me forward in a personal way, as a man who relates little adventures of himself to amuse people, and thereby exposes me to sarcasm and the malignity of anonymous critics, and is, besides, beneath me, ...) I shall propose to Longman to accept instead of these Travels a work on the originality and merits of Locke, Hobbes, and Hume, which work I mean as a pioneer to my greater work, and as exhibiting a proof that I have not formed opinions without an attentive perusal of the works of my predecessors, from Aristotle to Kant. I am confident that I can prove that the reputation of these three men has been wholly unmerited, and I have in what I have already written traced the whole history of the causes that effected this reputation entirely to Wordsworth's satisfaction....

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