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That Coleridge's famous annotations often contain some of his most penetrating critical insights, and often the seminal fragments of his more polished criticism, indicates, moreover, that this workshop is--at least for Coleridge-- the workshop of his best literary criticism. As part of this workshop process, he suggests three distinguishable but not divisible steps (to use his own terms): reading, understanding, and an accurate and functional use of language. The matrix of the three is language; and, for Coleridge, not only how a reader uses language but what language he uses determines, to a great extent, the quality of his reading.More that one hundred and fifty years before the structuralists and Philippe Sollers' announcement that "the essential question today is no longer that of the writer and the work ... but that of writing and reading," Coleridge had noted and was attempting to describe the complicated relationship between reading, language, and the critical understanding.
Corrigan, Timothy, "Coleridge, the Reader: Language in a Combustible Mind" (1979). Departmental Papers (CIMS). 3.
Date Posted: 22 September 2017
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