By Raimonda Modiano
Coleridge and the concept that of Nature:
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Extra resources for Coleridge and the Concept of Nature
But the confession betrays a sense ofembarrassment. Coleridge, it appears, cannot speak to Francis Wrangham, a friend of Wordsworth, about his interest in nature, except by way of ajoke. No doubt Coleridge was sufficiently wary of the mind's surrender to sense objects to resist a complete identification with nature. But the irony injected into his declaration of subservience to 'the Goddess Nature' has more complex sources. At this time Coleridge wanted very much to assert his passion for nature as a testimony that he was not exclusively preoccupied with metaphysics, and by implication, still capable of becoming a 'true Poet'.
P? For Coleridge a successful 'Assemblage in Space' came to mean not any combination offorms, but specifically the union of objects that were either in motion or suggested ideas of motion to the beholder, with stable objects that counteract the tendency of unlimited motion to disperse form . One of the most successful studies of the relationship between motion and form appears in a poeticised description of a flight of starlings that Coleridge edited from an earlier note: ... Starlings in vast Flights, borne along like smoke, mist -like a body unindued with voluntary Power / - now it shaped itself into a circular area, inclined - now they formed a Square - now a Globe now from complete Orb into an Ellipse - then oblongated into a Balloon with the Car suspended, now a concave Semicircle; still expanding, or contracting, thinning or condensing, now glimmering and shivering, now thickening, deepening , blackening!
Wordsworth was constantly in the way, conquering and appropriating more of the territory Coleridge felt should have been his but which he had no power to withhold. It is apparent that among their friends Wordsworth enjoyed the reputation of being best acquainted with 'Lady Nature' and that Coleridge would have liked to have some recognition on this score . Thus, Coleridge often engaged in competition with Wordsworth directly, by claiming to perceive more clearly the identity of some misty phenomenon in a landscape they were both observing, or to understand more profoundly the impact of natural forms upon the soul;" and indirectly, by trying to impress upon his friends the extent of his passion for nature.