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Coleridge a mixture of poet, journalist and philosopher, i.e. a man of imagination, of speculation and of affairs. Not all of these at one time however. His career falls naturally into three epochs--the poetical, the opium and the philosophical epoch.
1. The poetic period, to 1799. School days at Christ's Hospital. A precocious metaphysician. At Jesus College, Cambridge. The 'Comberback' episode. His marriage. Influence of the French Revolution. The Songs of the Pixies. The Aeolian Harp. Publication of Poems on Various Subjects, 1797. Other poems of this period of inspiration. Association with Wordsworth. The Lyrical Ballads. Composition of The Ancient Mariner. Poetic theories which it illustrated. Christabel and Kubla Khan Literary ventures other than poetical. The Watchman. Coleridge as a politician.
2. The opium epoch, 1799–1818. Visit to Germany with Wordsworth. Return to London and connexion with The Morning Post. Coleridge as journalist. He throws up active life and retires to the Lakes. Begins to feel the burden of existence. Causes of this and of the opium habit. The Ode to Dejection. Domestic break-up. In Malta. In London as a lecturer at the Royal Institution. Back to the Lakes and publishes The Friend. Analysis of his state of mind during this period. Increasing restlessness and depression. Writes for The Courier and lectures on Shakspere. He submits himself to systematic treatment.
3. The philosophical epoch, 1818–1834. Coleridge at Highgate. Gigantic literary and philosophic schemes. Coleridge as oracle. Nature of the influence he exercised. The Biographia Literaria. His death and general character.
Qualities as a poet. Coleridge's style and metre. Sources of his inspiration. His affinity to the Lake School. Contrast and comparison between Coleridge and Wordsworth. Analysis and criticism of The Ancient Mariner, Christabel, Kubla Khan, and some occasional pieces.
Coleridge as Critic. His lectures on literature; more particularly on Shakspere. Critical insight into Shakspere exhibited in Coleridge. His methods as a lecturer. How far he was really affected by opium. De Quincey's view of Coleridge.
Coleridge as Journalist and Politician. His work for The Morning Post and The Friend. Extreme views of his early days; how far they were modified by experience, time and personal circumstances. Contrast presented by Coleridge as dreamer and man of affairs.
Coleridge as Metaphysician. His early bent towards philosophical speculation. Nature of the theories he held. His methods of exposition. Association in later life with J. H. Green. Green's Spiritual Philosophy.
Remarks on Table Talk and Aids to Reflection. His powers as a conversationalist. Comparison between Coleridge and Dr. Johnson. On what does his enduring reputation depend? Final summary of his work, and nature of his influence
his times and our own.
ROBERT SOUTHEY. 1774-1843.
Southey's place among his contemporaries. The entire man of letters.' Wide range of literary activities-poet, historian, biographer, Laureate, and writer of miscellanea. The Grub Street hack prosperous and rangé. Southey as exemplar, friend and literary adviser. Worth and utility of such a man to his age.
Biographical Sketch. Southey's humble origin. Precocious avidity for books. At Westminster School. First literary attempts. Appalling facility in versification. At Balliol College, Oxford. Friendships formed there. Enthusiasm for revolutionary principles. Meeting with Coleridge. The community of ‘Pantisocrats.' Marriage. Wanderings in Spain. Settles at Greta Hall, Keswick. Uninterrupted tranquility of a literary life. Sequence and character of his various works. Becomes Poet Laureate. Death in 1843.
Southey as a Poet. Remarks on Thalaba, The Curse of Kehama, and Roderick. The Vision of Judgment. Ridicule by Byron. Southey's limitations as a poet appear by contrast with the work of Wordsworth and Coleridge. His minor pieces.
Biographies and Histories. The Life of Nelson; enduring value of this work. His Life of Wesley. History of Brazil. Extent of his erudition. Critic on The Quarterly. Southey's correspondence. General estimate of his place in literature.
Biographical Sketch. His parents. John Keats born in London, 1795. Early associations. School days at Enfield. Extent of his acquirements. Inspired to poetry by Spenser's Faierie Queene: cf. Southey.Life as a surgeon's apprentice at Edmonton. Early efforts in poetry. Life in London. Friendship with Leigh Hunt. Influence exercised on him by the latter; and by the artist, Haydon. Early Sonnets. Unequal powers which they display. Publication of a volume of poems in 1817. Its contents and reception.
At work on Endymion. Wanderings in England. In Scotland. Publication of Endymion, 1818. Its reception by the Reviewers. Keats and The Quarterly. Authorship of the review. Its effects on Keats exaggerated. Death of his brother and removal to Hampstead. Begins Hyperion and meets Fanny Brawne. Effects produced by his passion upon his character and his poetic genius. Odes and Sonnets. Composition of Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, Lamia, St. Mark's Eve, and Otho. Keats and the Isle of Wight. La Belle dame sans merci. Beginnings of the end. Visit to Italy with Severn. Illness and death at Rome, 1821.
Critical notes. Nature of Keats' genius. Influence of Chatterton. Intermingling of the classic and romantic. Points of contact with Wordsworth and Coleridge. Style and metre of Endymion. Limitations and defects of the longer poems. Supreme quality of some of the Sonnets. Of Isabella. Keats in relation to Greek life and thought (e.g. Hyperion). Keats as an artist in poetic diction. His influence upon art and poetry.
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