‘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.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Sketches by Zod


[Continuing this blog's lockdown theme of ‘books I would actually write, if only I had the time’, here are four SFnalisations of Dickens that, quite genuinely, it would be a pleasure to make real: the full Dickensian prose treatment, gnarly Dickensian characters and all the tastiest steampunky trimmings.]









9 comments:

  1. A steampunk David Copperplate?

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    Replies
    1. Jules Verne's "David Copper Ville-de-Futur".

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  2. In absolute seriousness: I would one hundred percent support a kickstarter or indiegogo to raise funds for you to write one or more of these books, and I bet a lot of other people would too.

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    Replies
    1. I'm semi-seriously considering it, I can tell you.

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  3. Nicholas Nickel-plated?
    Dombey and Sun?
    A Tale of Two Planets?

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    Replies
    1. Good! Though I might go with A Tale of Two ETs myself ...

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  4. You don't have to choose--you could write a book which contains the opening chapters of each of the above titles. A SteamDickens "best of" sampler, so to speak.

    Perhaps the Dickens steampunk equivalent of Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler...

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