‘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.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Femme Cyborg

This is from a 1962 French satirical publication, Dictionnaire Canard (I found a bunch of scans from early 1960s issues of these at the Multiglom blog, here). It's Marianne, the French national emblem, reimagined for the nuclear age ('Force de Frappe', 'Strike Force', was De Gaulle's plan for French military forces to be organised to include nuclear weapons, part of his 'Force de dissuasion' rationale of strategic deterrence). You can see the Robot Marianne's head is full of a saucily posing De Gaulle, in sexy sweater and tie combo. But what a splendid piece of robot art this is! Click to embiggen.

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