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Title: Contemplating 'The Riddle of the World' : nature and spirit in the writing of S.T. Coleridge and R.W. Emerson
Author: Harvey, S. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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Throughout a life-time of intellectual production, Coleridge and Emerson meditated upon the relation between the spiritual and natural worlds. On one hand, both felt an intuitive conviction that nature and spirit were at some level unified, yet both also struggled to preserve a distinct and transcendent God who ordered and preserved the world from a distance. Although Coleridge and Emerson explored numerous formulaic reconciliations of nature and spirit, from materialism to mysticism, idealism to scientific theory, none alone sufficed. Rather than subscribing to one systematic explanation, they instead adopted mediating concepts that could suggest a possible union of nature and spirit, without rigidly circumscribing their exact relation. This union could be achieved through an act of perception, a high level of seeing that if achieved, could perceive unity in multiplicity at once. However this act of perception was temporary and problematic, thus precluding a final resolution of the paradoxical relation between spirit and nature. Coleridge, who was deeply read in metaphysics, philosophy, and literature, provided a host of such mediating concepts for Emerson and the burgeoning American Transcendentalist movement. This dissertation endeavors to illustrate the ways in which Coleridge struggled to reconcile nature and spirit in his own work, via theological, philosophical, and literary concepts, and to investigate the ways these ideas were adapted by Emerson in his own literary productions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available