Coleridge's Notebooks: A Selection. (Reviews).
Coleridge's Notebooks: A Selection. Seamus Perry, editor.
Oxford University Press. [pounds sterling]19.99. 264 pages. ISBN 0-19-871201-4. As Mr Perry notes in his introduction, 'Coleridge is
one of the most remarkable writers and thinkers in one of English
Literature's most remarkable periods'. The poet's
Notebook is one of the Romantic period's 'masterpieces --
perhaps the unacknowledged prose masterpiece of the age'. While the
work has long been known to Coleridgian scholars, it has been less well
known to the general student of English poetry. Throughout his life he
confided his random thoughts, aphorisms, observations and descriptions
to his Notebook, or rather the seventy volumes that constitute the
whole. These are in various libraries in the English-speaking world but
the present selection is based on those in the British Library. The
publication of the entire Notebook, in ten volumes, is now nearing
completion. This edition offers readers 'a selection of entries
from the Notebook which implies its ran ge'. We see here Coleridge
the observer of nature, the humorist, the Romantic, the lover of
Shakespeare, and the philosopher (although Coleridge's more
abstruse reflections are not included). Entries are from the period
between the mid 1790s and the early 1820s. The arrangement is
chronological and there is sufficient biographical information to give
readers a 'sense of Coleridge's life'. This collection,
then, is something of a 'sampler' and an invaluable aid for
all those interested in this fertile writer's private life.