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Title: The concept of authorship in the work of Sara Coleridge
Author: Schofield, Robin W.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 6941
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis aims to establish Sara Coleridge's place in literary history. Her authorial achievements have been obscured by two factors. First, she has been the subject of predominantly biographical, rather than literary attention. While this thesis does draw on specific biographical contexts, its approach is literary and critical throughout. Second, Coleridge's mature writings are theological, and consist of polemical contributions to religious debate in the two decades following the Reform Act of 1832. In order to analyse the qualities of Coleridge's mature authorship, this study undertakes the necessary historical and theological contextualization. Coleridge's politico-religious setting requires innovatory authorial methods: she is, above all, a dialogic writer. The thesis examines her evolving dialogue with her 'literary fathers', and addresses the relationship between her editing of STC and her original writing. Bakhtinian theory informs the approach of this thesis to Coleridge's textual analysis of STC and his sources. Gadamer's hermeneutic concept of the 'fusion' of historical 'horizons' informs the study's analysis of her appropriation of STC's thought, which she reworks in addressing post-Reform fractures. Prevailing polemical styles exacerbate such fractures, Coleridge maintains. This study finds that Coleridge is committed to individual religious liberty, and an inclusive theology underpinned by Kantian epistemology. This is the basis for her sustained critique of the Oxford Movement's authoritarian tendencies. In her theological writings, therefore, she develops dialogic styles and forms by which to convey her liberal religious philosophy. Along with published sources, this thesis refers to the unpublished writings of 1850 and 1851 that reveal the full extent of Coleridge's literary innovation. This study is constructed chronologically; it aims to elucidate Coleridge's development through the stages of her writing life, and to uncover the connections between the various strands of her work. It shows that dialogic elements are present from an early stage of Coleridge's literary career, and that her writings in different genres all contribute to her ultimate vocation of dialogic religious authorship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral