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Coleridge - Darker Reflections Paperback – 4 Oct 1999
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This is the concluding volume of Holmes's definitive and thrilling biography of ST Coleridge. The book reads as a brilliant evocation of the Romantic age when a rigorous literary discourse was alive in England. Coleridge sat at the helm, a mad, loveable genius whose only life-long love affair was with opium. Holmes charts STC's oscillation between narcotic oblivion and the nightmare visions of withdrawal with the skill of a novelist. STC's inability to deal with the responsibilities of parenthood and his own finances left him in a state of constant poverty and guilt. Despite these afflictions, he managed to produce some of the finest poetry and philosophical prose in history. Financially and emotionally sustained by the love and loyalty of friends, every person he met fell under the spell, as de Quincey puts it, of "the greatest man that has ever appeared." At the heart of the story lies the volatile relationship with Wordsworth who plays McCartney to Coleridge's Lennon. Wordsworth comes across as an anally retentive, vain, ambitious operator who finally betrays Coleridge's love and friendship. The book is packed with quotes, which keeps the reader constantly close to the subject, and Holmes digs out detail that animates our hero at every turn. You'll find sex, drugs and poetry and a cast of stars (Byron, Shelley, Keats, Hazlitt, de Quincey, Southey, Carlyle, JS Mill) who revolve around Coleridge and his unfathomable mind. --Hannah Griffiths -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.
'One of the greatest biographies of the century. Pure joy to read, it is a shimmering portrait of the mature artist veering between brilliance and despair.' --Financial TimesSee all Product description
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Holmes takes up the story as Coleridge struggled to regain that 'first fine careless rapture' in an immensely readable biography that combines brisk tempo and scholarly evaluation in this sympathetic but not entirely uncritical account of the poet's later life. Coleridge faced daunting odds; a failed marriage; chronic lack of money; opium addiction; unrequited love for his `Asra;' a lengthy quarrel with Wordsworth, and savage censure from some hostile critics. Holmes strikingly portrays the poet's charisma and the friends who helped keep him buoyant, notably the lawyer John Morgan and James and Ann Gillman, all of whom he tried severely. And Coleridge remained courageously afloat,using his superhuman talents to create further legendry works. This reviewer ended up loving the man for the legacy he left, and with deep regard for Holmes's skill as a biographer. It's a book that can't really be faulted.
Holmes is a consummate writer and when moved he can ascend into poetry himself; see the epilogue `Afterward' (p 561). Holmes--- ` But there is a particular silence which falls after a life like Coleridge's...........like the silence in a concert hall when a symphony has just been played. But the music hasn't conceivably finished; like the music Coleridge's life continues in one's head and mixes with the sounds of one's own existence.......'
A rather scholarly work that covers a lot of ground over two volumes.
A tad difficult to get into but stick with it and you will be rewarded.
There probably isnt anything you need to know about Coleridge that isnt in this book.
Coleridge was that rare creature, a superb poet who could also grapple with the deepest of philosophers. He could brilliantly summarise the two basic possible lines in philosophy: "The difference between Aristotle and Plato is that which will remain as long as we are men and there is any difference between man and man in point of opinion. Plato, with Pythagoras before him, had conceived that the phenomenon or outside appearance, all that we call thing or matter, is but as it were a language by which the invisible (that which is not the object of our senses) communicates its existence to our finite beings ... Aristotle, on the contrary, affirmed that all our knowledge had begun in experience, had begun through the senses, and that from the senses only we could take our notions of reality ... It was the first way in which, plainly and distinctly, two opposite systems were placed before the mind of the world."
Although Coleridge adhered to Platonism, he honestly admitted, "All these poetico-philosophical Arguments strike and shatter themselves into froth against that stubborn rock, the fact of Consciousness, or rather its dependence on the body."
Like other notable literary biographies - one thinks of Holmes' earlier one of Shelley, Richard Ellman's of Oscar Wilde, Peter Ackroyd's of Charles Dickens, Tim Hilton's of John Ruskin, E. P. Thompson's of William Morris, and Leon Edel's of Henry James - this wonderful book arouses our enthusiasm for literature. It shows us again how a great writer's work can help us both to enjoy and to make sense of the world.
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