By Raimonda Modiano
Coleridge and the concept that of Nature:
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Additional info for Coleridge and the Concept of Nature
33v). During his journey to Italy, when Coleridge was thinking more seriously about the meaning of various aesthetic types, such as the beautiful, the grand or the sublime, he developed a concept of the picturesque that is free of its earlier associations. The term 'picturesque' for Coleridge now refers essentially to the manner in which a perceiver apprehends the relationship of parts to the whole. The picturesque still depends on certain physical traits in objects and a combination of contrasting forms, but such objects, while various, are neither rugged nor intricate, and their relationship is marked by balance and proportion, qualities which have been commonly linked with the beautiful.
This rule applies to all language, but especially to the language of poetry, and Lessing admonished poets to use descriptions sparingly, reminding them that both Pope and Ewald Kleist were greatly embarrassed by their early efforts to compete with the painters (p. 108). 'The rule is this', he puts it bluntly, 'that succession in time is the province ofthe poet, coexistence in space that of the artist' (p. 109). P" Throughout his descriptions Coleridge uses an elliptical language made of a string of paratactic sentences and dominated by nouns, adjectives or prepositions to define the spatial location of various objects.
We are getting close to the roots of Coleridge's interest in viewing landscape and to his reasons for confining most of his descriptions of nature to his journals. Coleridge was right in thinking that his travel notes brought him forward 'in a personal way, as a man who relates little adventures of himself to amuse people' (cf. n. 20 above). Extensive transcriptions of natural objects by themselves are not particularly entertaining, and when Coleridge finally decided to publish parts of his German tour, he reduced considerably the number oflandscapes he had collected in his journals and added instead an assortment of incidents and humorous conversations for the amusement of the public.