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Coleridge's Literary and Dramatic Criticism

Coleridge illustrates the point by citing Rime of the Ancient Mariner and "Christabel," comparing them to the intention of his collaborator on the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth, to create poetry out of the "charm of novelty to things of every day" (Coleridge 322), i.e., out of the language of British rustics (as reimagined, however, by Wordsworth).

Crane (782) cautions against accepting too readily any author's explication of his methods, citing in particular "Coleridge's statements about the kind of poem he designed Rime of the Ancient Mariner to be." But the setting and mood of both "Christabel" and Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which sustain an extended narrative, may be readily distinguished from Wordsworth's pastoral poetry as representing a strain of Romanticism that challenged Enlightenment notions of the perfectibility of mankind by way of reason. As Baumer (262) comments about the philosophical climate in which Coleridge's poetry appeaed: "The romantics, thirsting for the Infinite, also enlarged man's cognitive faculties, and gave free rein to the emotional and irrational side of human nature."

In both Rime of the Ancient Mariner and "Christabel," the power of human reason is either suppressed by the poet's imaginative manipulation of the text or exposed within the text as corrupt, imperfect, ready to betray human experience. Christabel is entra


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Coleridge's Literary and Dramatic Criticism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:37, October 22, 2014, from
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