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By Stephen Bygrave

Comprises hard new readings of Coleridge's significant works.

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Coleridge and the Self: Romantic Egotism

Contains demanding new readings of Coleridge's significant works.

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I believe that it is Hegel who most convincingly deals with the implication that activity implies an agent: the self in Hegel projects ends for itselfin which dualism is rather superseded than continually dissolved. Looking briefly at Coleridge's various definitions of two moral agencies, 'the will' and 'conscience', may help by more than analogy in the problem of defining the analogous activity of the self which he calls 'egotism'. 2 The Crucible and the Fire And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

There is a subjectivity of the poet, as of Milton, who is himself before himselfin everything he writes; and there is a subjectivity of the persona, or dramatic character, as in all Shakespeare's great creations, Hamlet, Lear &c. (TT, 12 May 1830) The poetry creates a 'John Milton' who subjugates character to his own purposes - and this is egotism: In the Paradise Lost - indeed in every one of his poems - it is Milton himself whom you see; his Satan, his Adam, his Raphael, almost his Eve - are all John Milton; and it is a sense of this intense egotism that gives me the greatest pleasure in reading Milton's work.

Here taken only problematically, not in so far as it may contain perception of an existent (the Cartesian cogito, ergo sum), but in respect of its mere possibility ... ' (p. 332 [A347, B405]). In one of his few explicit references to Kant, Hegel recognises that the Kantian 'Ego' is an epistemological function: Kant, it is well known, did not put himself to much trouble in discovering the categories. '1', the unity of self-consciousness, being quite abstract and completely indeterminate, the question arises, how are we to get at the specialized form of the '1', the categories?

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