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Title: The aesthetic will : time, transcendence and the transcendental imagination in romantic and existential thought
Author: Plant, Daniel
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis, argues for the theological viability of Coleridge’s ontological insight into artworks and natural phenomena as aesthetically intimative of transcendence. However this finding is dependent on a critical analysis of Coleridge’s work, separating poetical insights from a systematic context which works against their theological promise. This Coleridgean analysis is in turn dependent, philosophically, upon a critical examination of a variety of Kantian and post-Kantian texts, through which is derived an account of pre-conceptual imaginative process, as related to a Bergsonian account of time considered as an organically non-calculable structure, in light of a Kierkegaardian theological norm. I discern a tension running through Coleridge’s work between the insights of the poet and the ambitions of the post-Kantian metaphysician. I argue that this tension is subversive of Coleridge’s underlying religious and poetic motivations. Through an analysis of Coleridge’s thought in both its systematic and less formal, aesthetic tendencies, I extricate his claim for the aesthetic intimation of transcendence through nature and art from the post-Kantian systematic conceptuality through which Coleridge is often led to distort it, in a countervailing drive towards systematically complete explanation. The thought of Kierkegaard will serve to illumine the ethico-aesthetic dynamics of Coleridge’s account of the appropriation of transcendent insight, conceived as an event of the dawning of religious truth as a conceptually indeterminate imaginative process, which as such, is only accessible to an imaginative and participative receptivity on the part of the aesthetic subject. A similar, imaginative ethos is discerned in the aesthetic positions of Coleridge and Kierkegaard; an attentive humility in openness to the potential manifestation of genuinely creative alterity. Through this thesis, the theological claim is advanced, in a new way, that in the eyes of Christian faith, an intimation of transcendence can be interpreted as a glimpse of the everyday world as created, an encounter with the familiar in its own ecstatic otherness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available