‘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, 8 January 2017

Herbert George Wells

One thing I'll be doing in 2017 is starting a new blog (another one! I know!) to log, and reflect upon, my reading of the whole of H G Wells's oeuvre. I need to get properly on top of Wells for a Thing I may or may not be doing (I'm sorry to be evasive, but no contract has as yet been signed, so I can't say more), and I do find blogging a useful way of keeping track of my thoughts. That just leaves the name: what should I call it?

The Wells at the Blog's End
Herblog George Wells
Blogging the Wells Dry
All's Wells That Blogs Wells
The Food of the Blogs and How It Came to Earth
The Bloggic Argonauts
"The HTML Machine"
"No One Would Have Believed, In The First Years Of The Twenty-First Century, That Wellsian Affairs Were Being Watched Keenly and Closely by Intelligences Bloggier Than Man’s And Yet As Mortal As His Own"

Bit of a mouthful, that last one.


  1. In the Kingdom of the Blog

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  3. Seriously, why another one? They aren't really that different in content, but you keep changing them at least every couple of years, once (if I remember rightly) having three blogs at once, rarely linking from one to another.

    Maybe what you want is a private blog? You have to write to think, and it isn't writing unless someone reads it, but you don't seem to want *too many* people to read it. So choose like 10 people and give them read permission.

    1. I take the point of your rebuke, Rich: it is a little ... what? restless of me. But how to select ten select readers? That would be to place a burden upon them, and to prevent me from casting my bread upon the waters.

    2. How to select them? Well, that's easy. I can come up with a number of different possible methods.

      1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Announce the ten random copies of your next book will contain "golden tickets" engraved with single-person-use read passwords. Only people getting them don't get to be entertained bo Oompa Loompas and terrorized by various physical manifestations of their personality problems: they get to read your blog. Bronze tickets?

      2. A contest! People have to answer Adam Roberts book trivia questions until only the top ten remain, who can then read your blog if they ever overcome their overwhelming burden of shame.

      3. Relativity. Simply give the passwords to all the members of your extended family. None of them will ever read much for obvious reasons, other than an occasional holiday "Oh I saw a bit of your blog, very interesting [quickly changes subject]."

      4. Parasitism. Penn Jillette had his own bulletin board called the Jungle with like 20 people permitted to read it. (https://www.wired.com/1994/09/penn/) Flatter him with various US-libertarian bromides, get an account, then start writing. Readers will be horrible but you won't feel obligated.

    3. For what little it's worth, I'm super-interested in reading your thoughts on Wells, and I would be bummed if it were forbidden.

  4. I don't think Adam is actually going to have a private blog. I do think that his restlessness or whatever you'd like to call it has something to do with his general dissatisfaction with his own writing, which I could guess more about at length but should really not.

    1. Rich: I have to say, though it doesn't reflect well on me, I suspect you're spot-on with this.

  5. The Blog of Things to Come (or Shaping the Things to Come)