By Stephen Bygrave
Contains not easy new readings of Coleridge's significant works.
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Extra resources for Coleridge and the Self: Romantic Egotism
1', the unity of self-consciousness, being quite abstract and completely indeterminate, the question arises, how are we to get at the specialized form of the '1', the categories? The terms of the problem have shifted from 'personal identity' to 'self-consciousness' and the solely formal status of the 'I' is, to Hegel, unsatisfactory. Like Fichte, to whom he assigns the 'great merit of having called attention to the need of exhibiting the necessity of [the Kantian] categories and giving a genuine deduction of them' , he would distinguish this 'absolute' from any individual, empirical self.
4 Who Wrote Gray's 'Elegy'? The sense of egotism as indecorous which was noticed in Addison and Blair informs Gray's 'Elegy' more profoundly than at the level of local 'style', for it is written out of a tension implied by the rhetorical imperative and involving the presentation of the poet within the poem. Gray concludes an earlier version with a self-apostrophe, 'thou who mindful of the unhonour'd Dead I Dost in these Notes their artless Tale relate', which leads to a final Christian-Stoic reconciliation: No more with Reason & thyself at Strife Give anxious Cares & endless Wishes room But thro' the cool sequester'd Vale of Life Pursue the silent Tenour of thy Doom.
Again, Hazlitt's is the clearest illumination. In 'My First Acquaintance with Poets' he quotes Coleridge himself from 1798, when 'some comparison was introduced between Shakespeare and Milton', as implying that Shakespeare's protean characterlessness is in fact an absence, a lack of character: '''he was as tall and as strong, with infinitely more activity than Milton, but he never appeared to have come to man's estate; or if he had he would not have been a man but a monster" , (HW, XVII, 120-1).
Coleridge and the Self: Romantic Egotism by Stephen Bygrave