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Extra resources for Coleridge, Language and the Sublime: From Transcendence to Finitude

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The appetite for conflict is condemned as a hunger for spectacle, a virtual war vicariously enjoyed in print. 108–10) – does not ground the freefloating realm of media signifiers to violent reality. Coleridge’s point is that language has been evacuated of sense. No longer a mirror in order to bring experience to articulacy, it is the prime layer of experience in itself, structurally enveloping its speakers: We join no feeling and attach no form, As if the soldier died without a wound; As if the fibres of this godlike frame 46 Coleridge, Language and the Sublime Were gor’d without a pang: as if the wretch, Who fell in battle doing bloody deeds, Pass’d off to Heaven, translated and not kill’d.

Indeed, Terada’s point is not that emotion is fictional, for this would only make sense if there could be an authentic, non-fabular emotion: to feel is to feel oneself, and Terada argues that this demands fabularity and a certain self-staging of self. Arguably, the notion that feeling might actually be constituted through performativity lies behind Coleridge’s ultimate rejection of the effusive genre (the term was not used in subsequent collections). 37 The interesting thing is that he uses parody, just as in the pseudo-Spenserian ‘Effusion XXIV’.

It is little wonder that this poem was sometimes titled as an ode to absence, since the absence of the real beloved is continually exerting itself on the tone of the fantasy. 28). The ‘mark’ implies that each glance has already slid away (Old French glaichier, to slip) before even received, leaving just an indent or memory. 32), an evanescent glow, only barely present in a landscape of soft half-light. It is telling that the central charm in the workings of fancy is but a name: thus not a presence but yet another mark working in the absence of its referent: SPIRITS OF LOVE!

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