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  • COLERIDGE'S CRITICISM OF SHAKESPEARE

    AS ETHOLOGY AND JUDGMENT

    Sharon Gail Fawcett

    B.A., Simon Frase r Univers i ty , 1970

    A THESIS SUBMITTED I N PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF

    THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF

    MASTER OF ARTS

    i n t h e Department

    of

    English

    @ SHARON GAIL FAWCETT 1974 SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY

    A p r i l 1974

    A l l r i g h t s reserved . This t h e s i s may no t be reproduced i n whole o r i n p a r t , by photocopy o r o t h e r means, without permission of t h e author .

  • APPROVAL

    Name : Sharon Gai l Fawcett

    Degree: Master of A r t s

    T T t l e of Thesis: oler ridge's Cr i t i c i sm of Shakespeare a s Ethology and Judgment

    Examining Commit t e e :

    Chairman: Jared C u r t i s

    -am -

    Senior Supervisor

    Gerald Newman

    \ .

    Walter Lever

    J

    ' on^' B e l l e t t e Ex te rna l Examiner

    Associate Professor Universi ty of Calgary, Calgary

    May 6, 1974 Date Approved:

  • PARTIAL COP'lfRIGHT LICENSE

    I hereby g r a n t t o Simon F rase r Univers i ty t h e r i g h t t o lend

    my t h e s i s o r d i s s e r t a t i o n ( the t i t l e of which i s shown below) t o u s e r s

    of t h e Simon F r a s e r Un ive r s i t y L ib ra ry , and t o make p a r t i a l o r s i n g l e

    copies only f o r such u s e r s o r i n response t o a reques t from the l i b r a r y

    of any o the r u n i v e r s i t y , o r o the r educa t iona l i n s t i t u t i o n , on i t s own

    behal f o r f o r one of i t s u s e r s . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t permission f o r

    mu l t ip l e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted

    by me o r the Dean of Graduate S tudies . It is understood t h a t copying

    o r pub l i ca t ion of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l ga in s h a l l n o t be allowed

    without my w r i t t e n permission.

    T i t l e of ~ h e s i s / ~ i s s e r t a t i o n :

    oler ridge's C r i t i c i s m of Shakespeare as Ethology and Judgment

    Author : - r - - - - ( s i g n a t u r e )

    Sharon Fawcett

    17 74 I

    (da te )

  • iii ABSTRACT

    I t is my hypothesis t h a t Coler idge 's Shakespearean

    c r i t i c i s m i s a n e tho log ica l and judgmental mode of c r i t i -

    cism, This c r i t i c i s m i s an ethology inasmuch as i t s

    energ ies a r e c o n s i s t e n t l y d i r e c t e d by, and d i r e c t e d toward,

    Coler idge 's sense of t h e "organic form" of Shakespeare's

    p lays , Ethos a p p l i e s widely t o Coler idge 's sense of t h e

    n a t u r e of organic form, h i s d e f i n i t i o n of imaginat ion,

    h i s p r i n c i p l e s of method i n thought , and t h e q u a l i t y of

    h i s se l f -dec lared "genia l" ( i . e. genera t ive ) c r i t i c i s m ,

    Coler idge 's a n a l y s i s of Shakespeare 's c h a r a c t e r s as both

    indiv iduated persona and formal c o n t r i b u t i o n s toward t h e

    "organic wholeness" of t h e p lays , i s an e t h o l o g i c a l mode

    of c r i t i c a l thought i n s o f a r as it a t t empts t o balance and

    r e c o n c i l e form and c h a r a c t e r , Judgment e n t e r s Coler idge 's

    dec lared c r i t i c a l i n t e n t i o n s , as we l l as be ing a s e p a r a t e

    func t ion of t h e e t h i c a l i n ethology.

    The first chap te r i s concerned with Coler idge 's sense

    of organic form, and moves t o h i s theory of imagination

    and h i s p r i n c i p l e s of method i n order t o conclude t h a t

    t h e n a t u r e of e thos i s i m p l i c i t i n Coler idge 's summary

    i n t e n t i o n t o prove, by i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h e p r i n c i p l e s of

    imaginat ive thought, t h a t Shakespeare's judgment was

    equal t o h i s genius, The second and t h i r d chap te r s d e a l

    r e s p e c t i v e l y with Coler idge 's c r i t i c a l commentary upon

  • King Lear and The Tempest. I n these chapters , t h e par-

    t i c u l a r s of Coleridge's c r i t i c i s m a r e placed within t h e

    broad ou t l i ne of ethology presented i n t h e first chapter ,

    Coleridge's observations a r e c r i t i c i z e d and h i s commentary

    is augmented by my own exegesis where I have f e l t such

    c r i t i c i s m and/or exegesis t o be appropr ia te , The con-

    c luding chapter is summary and c l a r i f i c a t i o n according

    t o Coleridge's "Pr inciples of Genial Cri t icism" and

    t e n t a t i v e suggestions a r e made regarding t h e presence

    sf t h e e t h i c a l i n ethology, and i ts r e l a t i o n t o a e s t h e t i c s

    and metaphysics, An Appendix is at tached which describes

    t h e extant s t a t e of t h e t e x t of Coleridge's Shakespearean

    c r i t i c i s m , and some of t h e problems a t tendant upon it,

  • Dedicated t o the fortunes of Robin Blaser,

    and t o my son, Jesse Charles Fawcett.

  • "Space, Validity and Pleasuren

  • vii

    Gra te fu l acknowledgment is extended t o t h e

    members of my supervisory committee: Gerald

    Newman, Walter Lever and e s p e c i a l l y Rob Dunharn,

    f o r t h e i r encouragement, pa t i ence and kind

    i n t e r e s t .

    The longsuf f e r i n g members of my household and

    t h e good f r i e n d s o u t s i d e it who gave me time,

    space and energy, have my e t e r n a l g r a t i t u d e *

    h hey know who they a r e * )

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    PRELIMINARY PAGES

    C h a p t e r O n e r COLERIDGE'S C R I T I C I S M OF FORM

    C h a p t e r Two: COLERIDGE ON K I N G LEAR

    Synopsis

    C h a p t e r T h r e e : COLERIDGE ON THE TEMPEST

    Synopsis

    C h a p t e r Fourt GENIAL C R I T I C I S M AND THE NECESSARY STATEMENT

    L I S T OF REFERENCES

    A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

    vii i

    pp. i - viii

  • Chapter One

    COLERIDGE'S CRITICISM OF FORM

    For Coler idge ' s c r i t i c i s m of Shakespeare I t a k e t h e

    idea of form as a poin t of depar tu re , When Coler idge

    speaks of t h e two c o n f l i c t i n g p r i n c i p l e s of t h e f r e e l i f e

    and t h e conf in ing form i n h i s essay "On t h e P r i n c i p l e s of

    Genial ~ r i t i c i s r n " ' he is speaking about p r i n c i p l e s which

    a r e , f o r him, i d e a l l y r e c o n c i l a b l e and i n n a t e l y r e l a t i v e .

    That everyth ing i s r e l a t i v e i s n e i t h e r news nor a b s o l u t e l y

    t r u e , bu t t h e term " c o r r e l a t i v e " appears i n Coler idge ' s

    t h e o r e t i c a l w r i t i n g s t o mean t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p of t h e

    p a r t s t o each o t h e r and t o t h e whole of a t h i n g , whether

    it is a p a i n t i n g , a t r e e , a p lay of Shakespeare 's o r a

    phi losophica l cons t ruc t . The i d e a of form, then , begins

    wi th r e l a t i o n s h i p , and r e l a t i o n s h i p i t s e l f i s a t t h e

    source of p roc rea t ive a c t i v i t y . Coler idge t e l l s us t h a t

    t h e methodical mind contemplates t h e r e l a t i o n s of t h i n g s ,

    and t h a t t h e beauty of a t h i n g c r e a t e d by a methodical

    mind c o n s i s t s i n t h e held form of i t s i n t e r i o r r e l a t i o n -

    sh ips t "Multei ty i n Unity. "2 Coler idge ' s c r i t i c i s m of

    Shakespeare 's p lays begins and u l t i m a t e l y ends wi th h i s

    no t ion of t h e c o r r e l a t i v e a c t i v i t y of c h a r a c t e r , speech

  • and action within the forms denominated by the titles of

    Shakespeare's plays. My intention to discuss Coleridge's

    criticism of King Lear and The Tempest is for purposes of

    comparing Coleridge' s apprehension of the tragic vision

    with his apprehension of the comic vision, although it

    must be immediately stated that the visionary content of

    Shakespeare's plays -- and by visionary I mean the world envisioned by the process of its enactment within the

    play -- is not the direction of Coleridge's critioal intent. But however Coleridge may attempt to confine

    himself to 'illustration of principles'3 (by which he

    means formal principles) in his criticism of Shakespeare,

    this declared confinement nevertheless converges upon

    and affects the meanings of the plays to an extent I

    shall describe later,

    The voices of Coleridgean scholarship join in unison

    to declare that Coleridge's criticism of Shakespeare is

    formal in nature and intent, regardless of its sometimes

    disparaging description as character or psychological

    criticism. That is to say, it has been shown that Coler-

    idge's criticism of characters is essentially a criticism

    of their formal contribution to the play, and not of

    their personalities apart from the formal demands of the

    text. The characters in a play are for Coleridge one or

  • many of the components of the wholeness or harmony of the

    play, and their function as parts in relation t