‘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.

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

This Forthcoming The This

 


There's an Amazon page up now so I guess it's gone public: the cover of my next novel, due out February 2022 (or possibly a little later than that). The ‘terrible secret’ mentioned in the cover blurb might be that this is, in a manner of speaking, a science-fiction novelisation of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit (although of a much looser kind than was the case with my Kantnovel, The Thing Itself, which stuck quite closely, really, to the Critique of Pure Reason). ‘The This’ is a piece of Hegelian terminology. He was fascinated by the way ‘this’ is simultaneously the most general word imaginable, since literally anything can be a ‘this’, yet always intensely specific and individuated (this mug of tea, this person, this blogpost). Anyway, the novel is really about what this other blogpost calls ‘a Twitter analogue that may or may not be a nascent hive-mind poised to amalgamate all of humanity into a Borg-like synthesis.’ So I wouldn't worry too much about the Hegel side of things, if you'd rather not. It's all geisty good fun.

I wanted to use this line by Elvis Costello as my epigraph: when are you going to rise up? Wise up, Ghost. But though I tried several times I couldn't get copyright permission from Costello's people (couldn't, indeed, get so much as a reply) so I had to cut it. ‘What's that?’ I hear you ask. ‘Do you need to get and likely pay for rights clearance when all you're doing is quoting a single line from a pop song in a published book? Surely that counts as fair use!’ Oh my sweet summer child, no. Not in the least. Try dropping some Beatles lyrics into your next novel without clearing the rights, and wait for the lawyers' emails to come dropping into your inbox. Our copyright laws are messed up, really. But there you go.

6 comments:

  1. You might've had better luck quoting The The.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "He was fascinated by the way ‘this’ is simultaneously the most general word imaginable, since literally anything can be a ‘this’, yet always intensely specific and individuated (this mug of tea, this person, this blogpost)"

    Jesus Christ, did THIS guy need to get laid.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I suspect that "this" is descended from one of the first vocal communications among our ancestors, grunt and point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By amazing coincidence, "The Grunt-and-Point" was my working title for this book!

      Delete
    2. Ha ha! I would totally read that. You have to admit, the search engines would like it better.

      Delete
  4. Hello
    I am Anya Bennett, a financial writer. I write on several finance related topics like debt, loans, insurance, investment and so on. I came across your blog while surfing through the internet to find a suitable blog for writing articles. It is highly resourceful with rich and nice contents and has a vivid presentation. I must appreciate your hard work and wish you good luck.

    I was wondering if anyone here is looking for a positive loan lender to execute your project or financial needs? I'm recommending such a person to contact Mr Pedro Jerome (pedroloanss@gmail.com) who has helped a lot of young & old entrepreneurs around the globe for financial assistance so I'm very sure that Mr Pedro can help at a 2% rate loan service to anyone here looking for a loan.
    Thank you again for allowing me to write on your blog. I'm sure I provided you with an absolutely unique and relevant article so that it can be useful to your readers.
    If you are displeased with my short note, I cordially regret it in advance.

    My Kind Regards,
    Anya Bennett.

    ReplyDelete