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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.
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2002
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