‘Could a rule be given from without, poetry would cease to be poetry, and sink into a mechanical art. It would be μóρφωσις, not ποίησις. The rules of the IMAGINATION are themselves the very powers of growth and production. The words to which they are reducible, present only the outlines and external appearance of the fruit. A deceptive counterfeit of the superficial form and colours may be elaborated; but the marble peach feels cold and heavy, and children only put it to their mouths.’ [Coleridge, Biographia ch. 18]

‘ποίησις’ (poiēsis) means ‘a making, a creation, a production’ and is used of poetry in Aristotle and Plato. ‘μóρφωσις’ (morphōsis) in essence means the same thing: ‘a shaping, a bringing into shape.’ But Coleridge has in mind the New Testament use of the word as ‘semblance’ or ‘outward appearance’, which the KJV translates as ‘form’: ‘An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form [μóρφωσις] of knowledge and of the truth in the law’ [Romans 2:20]; ‘Having a form [μóρφωσις] of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away’ [2 Timothy 3:5]. I trust that's clear.

There is much more on Coleridge at my other, Coleridgean blog.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Tangerine Dream, Finnegans Wake (2011)

Following up, obliquely, from this: I'm still working through Joyce's last novel, in a slightly on-off manner (you could say my enjoying is fine again, is weak, fine again, is weak). At any rate, in an associated move, I bought the above named album.

I own quite a bit of Tangerine Dream, and often listen to it; but nothing from the 21st century. Checking recently, I discovered (a) that their discography is now over 100 titles long; and (b) that a few years ago they released an album based on FINNEGANS WAKE. This I have now purchased. And it's ... pretty good, actually. Here's yer track listing, for yer:
1 The Sensational Fall Of The Master Builder (9:03)
2 Finnegans Excessive Wake (8:14)
3 Resurrection By The Spirit (5:40)
4 Mother Of All Sources (8:54)
5 The Warring Forces Of The Twins (4:34)
6 Three Quarks For Muster Mark (6:17)
7 Everling's Mythical Letter (8:02)
8 Hermaphrodite (8:23)
The album sounds like 1970s-era Tangerine Dream: on-running baselines, throbbing riffs, spacious top-end with airy wailing and odd noises. All instrumental. The opening track is redolent of a kind of electronic menace. There are some nicely chiming down-ward scattery synthesiser arpeggios in 'Resurrection by the Spirit'. After its wrongfooting sloow-dow-ow-own and speed-up start 'Mother of All Sources' settles into a steady unmaternal chug. 'Warring Forces' is a bit meh, but the 'Three Quarks' track has a tremendous, spiralling energy. None of this seems to me to have anything very much to do with Irishness, death, drinking, punning or Everybody Here-Coming, but I'm not complaining. Indeed I think, on reflection, I'm glad they didn't try to incorporate Irish jigs and reels into their distinctive sound. Or bawdy gaelic songs. After all: who's to say that Finnegans Wake isn't actually about a group of German men in the 1970s exploring the sonic architecture of rhythmic repetition? It's as good an interpretation as any.


  1. you could say my enjoying is fine again, weak

    You could!

  2. 70's era TD is about my favorite TD, roughly equal to the "Lily on the Beach"/"Melrose" era.

    1. Have you kept up with their prodigal output at all? I was startled to see how much stuff there now is.