Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity
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Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity

The Rhetoric Of Obscurity
The Rhetoric of Clarity
Coleridge's Obscure Publicity
Coleridge and the Project of The Friend
Coleridge and the Poetics of Obscurity

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The books in this bundle are all chapters from my doctoral dissertation.

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About the Books

The Rhetoric Of Obscurity

The Rhetoric Of Obscurity

Reactionary Politics and Rhetoric at the Dawn of the Age of Revolution
  • 61

    Pages

  • 16,086

    Words

  • 100%

    Complete

  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • MOBI

  • WEB

This is the first chapter of my DPhil thesis, Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity.

In my doctoral research, I explored why we attribute pro-democratic significance to 'clarity' and anti-democratic significance to 'obscurity' in politics, philosophy and literature.

In this chapter, I consider the emergence of a new rhetoric of obscurity in the work of Robert Lowth and Edmund Burke, and I discuss Burke’s politicised deployment of this rhetoric in the 1790s.

To put this chapter in some context, here's my thesis abstract:

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that ‘obscurity’ was a complex concept in intellectual and revolutionary debate in the ‘long’ eighteenth century in Britain, and I show that it played a crucial part in the development of Coleridge’s rhetoric, criticism and poetry. Recent scholarship on the history of obscurity in rhetoric and aesthetics has focused on its development from antiquity to the Enlightenment and its role in twentieth-century modernism and postmodernism, but the function of obscurity in relation to Romanticism remains largely unexplored.

In my introductory chapters, I consider the positive and negative functions of obscurity in the new rhetorics of clarity and obscurity which emerged in the politically charged debates between and among British radicals and reactionaries in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. In particular, I consider the emergence of a new rhetoric of obscurity in the work of Robert Lowth and Edmund Burke, and I discuss Burke’s politicised deployment of this rhetoric in the 1790s. In my second chapter, I show how various radical writers, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall responded to Burke with a politicised new rhetoric of clarity. The clash between these two rhetorics, I argue, resulted in the development of an ambiguous rhetoric of Romantic obscurity which inherited their conflicts and contradictions concerning the authority, reception, and representation of obscurity in political, philosophical and literary writing.

In the remainder of my thesis, I develop these ideas through a study of the prose and poetry of the central figure of Romantic obscurity, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his early political prose, Coleridge’s engagement with the figure and the concept of obscurity follows the development of his political views and his anxieties concerning the effects of political writing on the indeterminate ‘people’. In the project of The Friend, Coleridge acknowledges that obscurity has a central but paradoxical function in the reception and representation of his abstruse philosophical researches. Finally, I consider the function of obscurity in Coleridge’s early poetry, in the reactionary defence of poetic obscurity in the Biographia Literaria, and in the construction of the ‘mystery’ poems.

Leonard Lawrence Epp

Balliol College

University of Oxford

Trinity 2005

The Rhetoric of Clarity

The Rhetoric of Clarity

Revolution and Radical Rhetoric
  • 58

    Pages

  • 14,399

    Words

  • 100%

    Complete

  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • MOBI

  • WEB

This is the second chapter of my DPhil thesis, Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity.

In my doctoral research, I explored why we attribute pro-democratic significance to 'clarity' and anti-democratic significance to 'obscurity' in politics, philosophy and literature.

In this chapter, I show how various late eighteenth-century radicals, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall responded to Edmund Burke's reactionary rhetoric of obscurity with a politicised, radical new rhetoric of clarity.

To put this chapter in some context, here's my thesis abstract:

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that ‘obscurity’ was a complex concept in intellectual and revolutionary debate in the ‘long’ eighteenth century in Britain, and I show that it played a crucial part in the development of Coleridge’s rhetoric, criticism and poetry. Recent scholarship on the history of obscurity in rhetoric and aesthetics has focused on its development from antiquity to the Enlightenment and its role in twentieth-century modernism and postmodernism, but the function of obscurity in relation to Romanticism remains largely unexplored.

In my introductory chapters, I consider the positive and negative functions of obscurity in the new rhetorics of clarity and obscurity which emerged in the politically charged debates between and among British radicals and reactionaries in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. In particular, I consider the emergence of a new rhetoric of obscurity in the work of Robert Lowth and Edmund Burke, and I discuss Burke’s politicised deployment of this rhetoric in the 1790s. In my second chapter, I show how various radical writers, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall responded to Burke with a politicised new rhetoric of clarity. The clash between these two rhetorics, I argue, resulted in the development of an ambiguous rhetoric of Romantic obscurity which inherited their conflicts and contradictions concerning the authority, reception, and representation of obscurity in political, philosophical and literary writing.

In the remainder of my thesis, I develop these ideas through a study of the prose and poetry of the central figure of Romantic obscurity, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his early political prose, Coleridge’s engagement with the figure and the concept of obscurity follows the development of his political views and his anxieties concerning the effects of political writing on the indeterminate ‘people’. In the project of The Friend, Coleridge acknowledges that obscurity has a central but paradoxical function in the reception and representation of his abstruse philosophical researches. Finally, I consider the function of obscurity in Coleridge’s early poetry, in the reactionary defence of poetic obscurity in the Biographia Literaria, and in the construction of the ‘mystery’ poems.

Leonard Lawrence Epp

Balliol College

University of Oxford

Trinity 2005

Coleridge's Obscure Publicity

Coleridge's Obscure Publicity

Radical Journalism and the Crisis of Revolution
  • 73

    Pages

  • 18,958

    Words

  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • MOBI

  • WEB

This is the third chapter of my DPhil thesis, Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity.

In my doctoral research, I explored why we attribute pro-democratic significance to 'clarity' and anti-democratic significance to 'obscurity' in politics, philosophy and literature.

In this chapter, I discuss the development of Coleridge's early political views and his anxieties concerning the effects of political writing on the indeterminate ‘people’.

To put this chapter in some context, here's my thesis abstract:

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that ‘obscurity’ was a complex concept in intellectual and revolutionary debate in the ‘long’ eighteenth century in Britain, and I show that it played a crucial part in the development of Coleridge’s rhetoric, criticism and poetry. Recent scholarship on the history of obscurity in rhetoric and aesthetics has focused on its development from antiquity to the Enlightenment and its role in twentieth-century modernism and postmodernism, but the function of obscurity in relation to Romanticism remains largely unexplored.

In my introductory chapters, I consider the positive and negative functions of obscurity in the new rhetorics of clarity and obscurity which emerged in the politically charged debates between and among British radicals and reactionaries in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. In particular, I consider the emergence of a new rhetoric of obscurity in the work of Robert Lowth and Edmund Burke, and I discuss Burke’s politicised deployment of this rhetoric in the 1790s. In my second chapter, I show how various radical writers, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall responded to Burke with a politicised new rhetoric of clarity. The clash between these two rhetorics, I argue, resulted in the development of an ambiguous rhetoric of Romantic obscurity which inherited their conflicts and contradictions concerning the authority, reception, and representation of obscurity in political, philosophical and literary writing.

In the remainder of my thesis, I develop these ideas through a study of the prose and poetry of the central figure of Romantic obscurity, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his early political prose, Coleridge’s engagement with the figure and the concept of obscurity follows the development of his political views and his anxieties concerning the effects of political writing on the indeterminate ‘people’. In the project of The Friend, Coleridge acknowledges that obscurity has a central but paradoxical function in the reception and representation of his abstruse philosophical researches. Finally, I consider the function of obscurity in Coleridge’s early poetry, in the reactionary defence of poetic obscurity in the Biographia Literaria, and in the construction of the ‘mystery’ poems.

Leonard Lawrence Epp

Balliol College

University of Oxford

Trinity 2005

Coleridge and the Project of The Friend

Coleridge and the Project of The Friend

The Politics of Obscurity in the Three Versions of The Friend
  • 84

    Pages

  • 22,641

    Words

  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • MOBI

  • WEB

This is the fourth chapter of my DPhil thesis, Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity.

In my doctoral research, I explored why we attribute pro-democratic significance to 'clarity' and anti-democratic significance to 'obscurity' in politics, philosophy and literature.

In this chapter I discuss how, in the project of The Friend, Coleridge acknowledges that obscurity has a central but paradoxical function in the reception and representation of his work. 

To put this chapter in some context, here's my thesis abstract:

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that ‘obscurity’ was a complex concept in intellectual and revolutionary debate in the ‘long’ eighteenth century in Britain, and I show that it played a crucial part in the development of Coleridge’s rhetoric, criticism and poetry. Recent scholarship on the history of obscurity in rhetoric and aesthetics has focused on its development from antiquity to the Enlightenment and its role in twentieth-century modernism and postmodernism, but the function of obscurity in relation to Romanticism remains largely unexplored.

In my introductory chapters, I consider the positive and negative functions of obscurity in the new rhetorics of clarity and obscurity which emerged in the politically charged debates between and among British radicals and reactionaries in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. In particular, I consider the emergence of a new rhetoric of obscurity in the work of Robert Lowth and Edmund Burke, and I discuss Burke’s politicised deployment of this rhetoric in the 1790s. In my second chapter, I show how various radical writers, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall responded to Burke with a politicised new rhetoric of clarity. The clash between these two rhetorics, I argue, resulted in the development of an ambiguous rhetoric of Romantic obscurity which inherited their conflicts and contradictions concerning the authority, reception, and representation of obscurity in political, philosophical and literary writing.

In the remainder of my thesis, I develop these ideas through a study of the prose and poetry of the central figure of Romantic obscurity, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his early political prose, Coleridge’s engagement with the figure and the concept of obscurity follows the development of his political views and his anxieties concerning the effects of political writing on the indeterminate ‘people’. In the project of The Friend, Coleridge acknowledges that obscurity has a central but paradoxical function in the reception and representation of his abstruse philosophical researches. Finally, I consider the function of obscurity in Coleridge’s early poetry, in the reactionary defence of poetic obscurity in the Biographia Literaria, and in the construction of the ‘mystery’ poems.

Leonard Lawrence Epp

Balliol College

University of Oxford

Trinity 2005

Coleridge and the Poetics of Obscurity

Coleridge and the Poetics of Obscurity

The Charge of Obscurity in Coleridge's Poetry
  • 79

    Pages

  • 21,726

    Words

  • PDF

  • EPUB

  • MOBI

  • WEB

This is the fifth chapter of my DPhil thesis, Coleridge and Romantic Obscurity.

In my doctoral research, I explored why we attribute pro-democratic significance to 'clarity' and anti-democratic significance to 'obscurity' in politics, philosophy and literature.

In this chapter, I consider the function of obscurity in Coleridge’s early poetry, in the reactionary defence of poetic obscurity in the Biographia Literaria, and in the construction of the ‘mystery’ poems.

To put this chapter in some context, here's my thesis abstract:

Abstract

In this thesis I argue that ‘obscurity’ was a complex concept in intellectual and revolutionary debate in the ‘long’ eighteenth century in Britain, and I show that it played a crucial part in the development of Coleridge’s rhetoric, criticism and poetry. Recent scholarship on the history of obscurity in rhetoric and aesthetics has focused on its development from antiquity to the Enlightenment and its role in twentieth-century modernism and postmodernism, but the function of obscurity in relation to Romanticism remains largely unexplored.

In my introductory chapters, I consider the positive and negative functions of obscurity in the new rhetorics of clarity and obscurity which emerged in the politically charged debates between and among British radicals and reactionaries in the mid- to late-eighteenth century. In particular, I consider the emergence of a new rhetoric of obscurity in the work of Robert Lowth and Edmund Burke, and I discuss Burke’s politicised deployment of this rhetoric in the 1790s. In my second chapter, I show how various radical writers, including Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestley, Mary Wollstonecraft and John Thelwall responded to Burke with a politicised new rhetoric of clarity. The clash between these two rhetorics, I argue, resulted in the development of an ambiguous rhetoric of Romantic obscurity which inherited their conflicts and contradictions concerning the authority, reception, and representation of obscurity in political, philosophical and literary writing.

In the remainder of my thesis, I develop these ideas through a study of the prose and poetry of the central figure of Romantic obscurity, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In his early political prose, Coleridge’s engagement with the figure and the concept of obscurity follows the development of his political views and his anxieties concerning the effects of political writing on the indeterminate ‘people’. In the project of The Friend, Coleridge acknowledges that obscurity has a central but paradoxical function in the reception and representation of his abstruse philosophical researches. Finally, I consider the function of obscurity in Coleridge’s early poetry, in the reactionary defence of poetic obscurity in the Biographia Literaria, and in the construction of the ‘mystery’ poems.

Leonard Lawrence Epp

Balliol College

University of Oxford

Trinity 2005

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