Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria Chapter 4 Summary

Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria Chapter 4 Summary


Samuel Taylor Coleridge Biographia Literaria Chapter 4 Summary

Chapter 3 highlights the role of “visual narrative” (p. 133), notably when novelists such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy and the Gothic novelists Ann Radcliffe and Daniel Defoe “purposed an arrangement of’mimesis’/’fabula/’speculum/’dogma” (p. 135) as an epistemological framework that can help to make sense of what they were doing.

Chapter 4 traces the reassertion of “the traditional rhetoric of moralizing moral instruction” (p. 152, italics in original) throughout the nineteenth century. James students continue to read Locke, Goethe, Shakespeare, Plato, and Mill; but they also read Alcott, Serres, Jones, Steevens, the personifications of moral instruction in i-liad and Odyssey; and they read their own textbooks and teachers. Yet the “abominable discipline of minute literal exegesis” (p. 153) was replaced by the “moral art of conduct” (p. 155).

In Chapter 5, I argue that Coleridge had an interest in cryptograms and ciphers for various reasons. First, he wanted to find a way to express himself that was not beholden to the standards of the day. Second, he wanted to keep secret documents safe from the prying eyes of the secret police. Third, he wanted to be able to make secret writing for himself.

Coleridge’s interest in cryptography was motivated by a variety of factors. First, Coleridge was a student of geometry and found the study of codes and ciphers appealing. He was also familiar with the work of cryptographer Professor John Kingsbury. Kingsbury, an English clergyman, had produced the first book on cryptography (An Introduction to the Theory of Cryptography), which Coleridge bought on a visit to Cambridge in 1799. At that time, Deptford was Coleridge’s home, a place of refuge where he could work happily and peaceably.


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