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Title: Coleridge's Shakespearean criticism
Author: Badawi, M. M.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1954
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The object of this thesis is twofold: first, to attempt to understand the method and the critical assumptions in Cole-ridge's writings on Shakespeare, and secondly, to point out the exact nature of his contribution to English Shakespearean criticism. In order to assess his contribution, however, it is necessary to review Shakespearean criticism before his time. A discussion of this criticism reveals that the rational common sense approach to the plays resulted in the splitting up of their organic unity. Besides, the predominant philosophical and psychological ideas of the time were not favourable to any profound apprehension of the nature of the poetic and dramatic experience, and the rise of scientific and empirical mental habits encouraged a naturalistic conception of character. A study of Coleridge's Shakespearean criticism, on the other hand, shows its profoundly systematic nature, and its intimate relation to his aesthetical theory. But there is a basic contradiction in the theory itself. Virtually Coleridge has two different theories of poetry: an emotionalistic theory which regards pleasure to be the end of poetry, and which he inherits from the eighteenth century, and the theory of imagination, which forms his own contribution. The latter theory does not confuse art with life or relegate poetry to the realm of pleasant unrealities, but offers a serious view of the nature and function of poetic imagination, and hence of Shakespearean drama. Prom Coleridge we have learnt that each play is an embodiment of the poet's vision of life, and has a serious meaning that bears a significant relation to reality. Because of his organic view of form Coleridge looks for this meaning, not in the constituent parts of a play separately or in isolation, but in the whole of it, in its plot, character, imagery and versification alike.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: English Literature