Shakespeare & Co.

I begin with three quotations. On August 17, 1863, Abraham Lincoln, writing to the actor James Hackett, said: Some of Shakespeare’s plays I have never read; while others I have gone over perhaps as frequently as any unprofessional reader. Among the latter are Lear, Richard the Third, Henry Eighth, Hamlet, …

Coleridge: The Wound Without the Bow

It is difficult to write a short review of Coleridge, The Damaged Archangel that will be fair both to Mr. Fruman and to his subject. The book is formidably long—scholarly and well documented, as the professional journals say (434 pages of text, plus 132 pages of closely printed notes), sometimes …

A Tract for the Times

First of all gratitude to Kathleen Coburn, the editor, and the Bollingen Foundation, the sponsors, of the sorely needed Collected Works of Coleridge; then to Professor Barbara Rooke, the editor of The Friend, which is the first of the works to appear. The periodical essays that make up this strange …

Coleridge Lives!

Of all works of literary scholarship a short critical biography must be one of the most difficult to write. “A shilling life”—even if we add a bit for inflation—won’t really “give you all the facts,” for the obvious reason that in dealing with a man worth this kind of attention …

Taming the Albatross

The greatness of Coleridge is indisputable, the problem for his admirers is to define what he actually achieved. I don’t mean only that his poetry shows enormous variations in kind and quality, or that his criticism and general thought is sometimes repetitious, sometimes confused, with heavy borrowings from “continental thinkers” …