‘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.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Latest News


I was asked yesterday about my blogs, and it occurred to me that I don't anywhere have them itemised or indexed. So here goes.

One. This blog, Morphosis, is now my stand-in author website. I used to run a site called adamroberts.com to that end, but it cost a surprisingly large amount of money and nobody ever visited it so I stopped my subscription and instead repurposed this Blogger platform as author website. Once upon a time it used to be a blog for critical thinking and essays and whatnot, and if you go back in the timeline you'll find all those posts, but now I use it for ... well: for this kind of thing. Author news, links to reviews and so on. Here's news of a recent review of my new novel The This, for example.

Two. I started a Medium blog, ‘Adam’s Notebook’, to host my critical essays, readthroughs of the complete works of Walter Scott, and other bits and pieces of writing. I can't say I'm overly enamoured of Medium as a platform (it's almost impossible to format posts beyond the Medium vanilla settings, its internal search and archive protocols are crap, it's glitchy and odd about updates, revisions to posted posts, timetabling posts ahead of time and so on) but I've been there for a while now. If you were interested and prepared to follow me I might reach the threshold where I could start to monetize my Notebook writing, but no pressure. At the moment, in addition to the Walter Scott, I'm posting thoughts pursuant to a short history of Fantasy that I'm working on (for example: why are so many Fantasy novels published as trilogies?), with some reviews, occasional poems and other essays. Why not check it out?  

Three. I have another blog, Sibilant Fricative, where I post reviews of books and films science fictional. Most recently I reviewed the new Star Trek TV show Strange New Worlds.

Those are the main ones. I do have other blogs! (I sound like Groucho Marx: these are my blogs; if you don't like them I have others). So, and though I haven't posted there for a couple of months, I run a blog dedicated to Coleridge, upon whom I am presently undertaking some academic work. I do love Coleridge! The fact is, I find blogging a useful praxis when it comes to writing critical work: I blogged my way through H G Wells prior to writing my biography of him, and likewise read-and-blogged the whole of Anthony Burgess before writing my Burgessian novel The Black Prince (Unbound 2018). Those last two are no longer live blogs, in the sense that I no longer post material to them (any more than I do to this lockdown project blog); though Sibilant Fricative and my Notebook still get pretty regular updates of material.

So them's my blogs.

What else? Well, at the top of the post you can see me clutching my old CD of Blood and Chocolate. That's because I recently appeared on Stu Arrowsmith's excellent Dangerous Amusements podcast talking about my love of Elvis Costello, and you can hear what I had to say here. More news as we have it!

One more thing: buy my book.

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