Coleridge the Visionary by John Beer

By John Beer

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First released in 1959 by way of Chatto & Windus, this much-cited publication throws mild at the highbrow association of Coleridge's poetry and the innovative characteristics implicit in his philosophy.

John Beer's remedy of the visionary Coleridge is whilst an informative spouse to the 18th century's explorations of mythology in such works as Calmet’s Antiquities Sacred and Profane, Burnet’s conception of the Earth, Campanella’s urban of the solar, Lowth's De Sacra Poesi Hebraeorum, Maurice’s Hindostan, Bryant’s research of old Mythology, Grew's Cosmologia Sacra.

Chapter headings: Coleridge and Romanticism; The experience of Glory; ‘Science, Freedom and the reality in Christ’; The Daemonic elegant; the wonderful solar; ‘By the entire Eagle in thee, the entire Dove’; The River and the Caverns; Fountain of the solar; The Visionary Gleam.

John Beer's books comprise Coleridge's Poetic Intelligence, Blake's Humanism, Blake's Visionary Universe, Wordsworth and the Human center, Wordsworth in Time, wondering Romanticism (ed.), Romantic realization: Blake to Mary Shelley, Post-Romantic recognition: Dickens to Sylvia Plath, Romantic impacts and William Blake: A Literary Life.

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Many of them could find no logical answer to the problems raised except in strict Deism: others bypassed the intellectual problem by making religion a matter not of the head but of the heart, and became Methodists. In between them, striving for a compromise, were the Unitarians. This last strain has been partly hidden from view in succeeding years, perhaps because it produced no major artistic genius. The geniuses which it did produce were primarily men of science: Newton, Hartley, Priestley. , which gives glimpses of the wide range of interests possessed by many Unitarians of the time.

EKC, 49-51. (Letter of July 24, 1800. ) The Sense of Glory 39 The influence of these societies is apparent in Coleridge’s writing and thinking, but they did not form him. They provided an anvil on which he could hammer out his developing opinions, and stimulated him to further efforts; and they also satisfied a side of his personality which is often neglected: his underlying desire that his speculations should achieve practical results. Practical results, however, could not ultimately blind him to the fact that he was not finding true satisfaction in them.

CNBG, f. 77v (CNC I 272).  CPW, I, 99-100 and n.  Lowes (X, 464-5) first pointed out that Coleridge found the passage from Haggern in Erasmus Darwin’s Loves of the Plants (1789, pp. 183-4, = Botanic Garden, 1791, II, 183-4). See also G. Grigson, The Romantics, 1942, pp. 343-4 (note 156).  March 1811: CLG III 304, corrected from the original MS in Dr. Williams’s Library. The idea that Coleridge associated Boehme’s image with the magnetic lore that was being discussed in his day may be supported by reference to an entry in an early notebook: “It is not true that men always go gradually from good to evil or evil to good.

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