‘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.

Friday 20 March 2015

SF Soviet Cigarettes

At the moment I'm reading Burgess's Honey for the Bears (1963), his lightly fictionalised account of the trip he and his wife took to the USSR in the early 60s. Enjoying it, too. One thing he notes is that Soviet cigarettes all sport space flight themes. So I did a quick google image search, and by gum he's right -- either space, or else weird phallic surrealism.

That last one, though! Woo-hoo.


  1. The first, third and fourth are all for the same brand, 'Cosmos' (the second is 'Sputnik'). I've had an interesting time with the last one - Google Translate gives me "smoke a pack of cigarettes - nowhere but in Mosselprom". Mosselprom turns out to be a government department store, and the slogan 'nowhere but in Mosselprom' was coined by Mayakovsky (!). Also, the word 'pack' is in quotes and can also mean 'wad', so it's more like "Smoke 'Wad' cigarettes". And now I can't think of a sentence without a double entendre, so I'll leave it there.

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