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Title: Rehearsing modern tragedy : a Benjaminian interpretation of drama and the dramatic in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's writings
Author: Almond, Clare Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 3531
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis offers a reappraisal of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s dramatic theory and writing. Although critical interest in Coleridge’s dramatic work is relatively small in comparison to other areas, it is increasing. A central aim of the thesis is to add to this field of criticism by suggesting a greater significance of the dramatic in Coleridge’s oeuvre. This is an area of Coleridge’s work that can be illuminated by way of its interpretation using Walter Benjamin’s reassessment of dramatic genres in The Origin of German Tragic Drama. A key assumption of the thesis is that Coleridge’s dramatic work extends beyond the parameters of his activity as a playwright. It therefore positions key moments of his critical theory and poetic writing as dramatic. In viewing selected works in this way, a greater coincidence between Coleridge and Benjamin’s work emerges most significantly through their shared themes of truthful representation and correct interpretation. A short introduction highlights common themes between Coleridge and Benjamin and proposes a view of the two writers that follows Benjamin’s concept of the ‘constellation’. Chapter One draws together key critical interest in Romantic drama. It also aims to connect Coleridge’s dramatic theory and works with key themes in On German Tragic Drama. Chapter Two explores Coleridge’s dramatic theory in his Lectures before 1812 and offers a reading of the ‘Critique of Bertram’ that seeks to reassert the importance of this piece. Chapter Three aims to reveal a dramatic current running through ‘The Eolian Harp’ and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The thesis culminates, in Chapter Four, with a reading of Remorse informed by Benjamin’s critical model of the Trauerspiel in The Origin of German Tragic Drama. In conclusion, the thesis offers up aspects of Coleridge’s works that can be termed as dramatic so as to reveal their anticipation of a Benjaminian modernity. In this sense, it proposes that drama should be accorded more significance within Coleridge’s oeuvre as it reveals a better understanding of some of his lesser known material and highlights some of his most original thinking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available