Coleridge and the Appearing Earth: An Essay on the Other in Language

Author's Department

English & Comparative Literature Department

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Analecta Husserliana

Publication Date





Samuel Taylor Coleridge represents an important phase in a movement away from the dominance of Cartesian modes of literary analysis in favor of a more synthetic approach to creative experience. When Coleridge protests against Cartesianism, he not only sets himself against rationalism in the narrow sense but also alters his relationship to a native empiricism that took Descartes as an important forerunner. The division of the world into res cognitans and res extensa, or thought and extension, resulted in the elevation of Substance to the level of a metaphysical category in seventeenth-century epistemology. In the twentieth century, Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer contrasted modern dualism to an alternative view of the world that enables language itself to be explored as a temporal experience. Immanuel Lévinas has more recently emphasized the importance of the Other as a non-totalizable category in his phenomenological approach to language and time. The present paper defends the view that Coleridge’s conception of both the life of literature and the literature of life provide us with complementary perspectives for interpreting creative experience as a quest for spiritual truth.

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