‘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.
Thursday, 20 December 2018
Reviews Round-up 2018
I've reviewed a few 2018 books and films on this blog and thought it might be worthwhile to post links to them here. For, that is, a latitudinous definition of worthwhile. At any rate, you know the deal with me, I'm sure. Most of what follows are not so much conventional reviews (I've written a bunch of those for various outlets this year too) so much an more-or-less prolix and rambling essays on subjects that interest me.
Books: R F Kuang, The Poppy War (HarperVoyager 2018)
Madeline Miller, Circe (Bloomsbury UK 2018)
Christopher Priest, An American Story (Gollancz 2018)
Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Moon (HarperCollins 2018)
Andrzej Sapkowski, Season of Storms (Gollancz 2013/2018)
J R R Tolkien, The Fall of Gondolin (HarperCollins 2018)
Films and TV: Ready Player One (dir Steven Spielberg, 2018)
Black Panther (dir Ryan Coogler, 2018)
Doctor Who (BBC 1983-2018)