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By David Ward (auth.)

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Additional resources for Coleridge and the Nature of Imagination: Evolution, Engagement with the World, and Poetry

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The cultural arrogance in this later stance contrasts with his earlier interest in the vatic rituals of the Greenland Wizard. Elsewhere there is the assertion that words are ‘a voluntary appropriation of fixed symbols to internal acts’ (BL, 1, 254). There is a marked difference between the cases of The Ancient Mariner and the Maori Tohunga or the Inuit Angekok in that in the latter two the chosen symbols are part of a communal understanding, whereas those which are central to The Ancient Mariner are unfixed, echoing, obscure mind-events, sensitivities to hidden shapes, impulses which initiate a dramatic sequence in which the will can, temporarily and deliberately, be in abeyance.

Letters, 1, 145) Maybe the notion of duty is conflicted here. In one sense it might be to deny his own wishes for the sake of Pantisocracy and thus to marry Sara Fricker. In another sense his duty might be to refuse what he feared would be a degrading and unhappy union. 10 Almost casually, as ‘collateral damage’, he condemned Sara to dutiful misery: ‘Marriage, the meagre prose comment on the glowing gorgeous poetry of Courtship’ (CN, 3, 4430). Coleridge was devoted to several women who were, in their turns, profoundly attracted to him, but he remained unable consistently to see women as complete and complex beings.

1 Peter Paul Rubens, An Autumn Landscape with a view of Het Steen in the Early Morning, c. 1636, oil on panel (The Bridgeman Art Library Ltd. /Alamy) 22 Coleridge and the Nature of Imagination processing are each handled by different pathways in the brain, as is shown when there are abnormalities in the neurological system. 4 Perception in normal subjects integrates, or tends to integrate, what each of these syndromes fails to provide in the patient’s genetic make-up. Whatever one may make of Kant’s concept of the imagination as a transcendental faculty occupying itself with the synthesis of reproduction,5 the imaginative perception of spatial unity in diversity is neurologically a matter of the integration of two modes of processing visual input.

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