OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLERIDGE RESEARCH AND STUDY
(The Coleridge Bulletin New Series No 3, (Spring 1994) [Pages not numbered])
article is based upon the author's more detailed discussions of the topics in
the Preface and introduction to volume III of the Coleridge Bibliography (1994)
and on the article in the Coleridge
Bulletin, No. 3, Winter 1990, pp 30-48.
Scheduled for publication in 1994 is the long-anticipated third volume of the multi-volume Coleridge Bibliography:
Coleridge: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism and Scholarship. 3 vols.
1976, 1983, 1994.
Volume III: Part I, 1793-1994, including Supplement to
Volumes I and II, 1793-1939; Comprehensive Bibliography, 1940-1965 ; Selective
Bibliography, 1966-1994; and Part II, 1791-1993. By Walter B. Crawford with the
research and editorial assistance of Ann M. Crawford.
Volume II, 1900-1939 ( with
additional entries for 1795-1899). By Walter B. Crawford and Edward S.
Lauterbach, with the assistance of Ann B. Crawford.
Volume I, 1793-1899. By Richard
Haven, Josephine Haven, and Maurianne S. Adams.
The Coleridge Bibliography
has certain distinguishing features which its users should be aware of and
which are explained in detail in the preface to volume III. In particular, our
deliberate broadening of our principles of selection in volumes II and III has
enabled us to provide more information than is found in most author
In the first place, these volumes provide something of a
record of the wide range of responses to Coleridge and treatment of him and his
writings by scholars and critics not only in literature but also in other
disciplines and by readers whose responses appear on sub-literary and extra-literary
levels. These widely varied responses show something of the special appeal
Coleridge's personality and works have had for thoughtful and creative persons
of widely varied interests and backgrounds. And they show also something of how
pervasive Coleridge's influence has been and continues to be, both in what
might be called our literary culture and in our general or popular culture as
well, and how fundamental are his appeals to the imagination.
In the second place, we have frequently gone beyond the item
being annotated in order to supply related information which we deemed
important, clarifying, or illuminating. The large amount and variety of this
supplemental information, we believe, gives the Coleridge Bibliography
dimensions of usefulness and interest well beyond those normally expected of
similar reference tools.
Bibliographical Research Needed
Considering that these three volumes contain a total of
10,424 entries (including entries completing, supplementing, or correcting some
in earlier volumes), a first impression that the job is finally done is
understandable. Then one remembers that the Bibliography
is "comprehensive" only through 1965, and selective for 1966-1994.
Clearly, further bibliographical research on Coleridge is
needed — and a new team of bibliographers will be required to do the job.
Fortunately, the latest electronic technology involving on-line bibliographical
databases and international information networks will make the job of
identifying and locating Coleridge material easier and faster. However, as the
retiring bibliographers have learned, even the best electronic databases will
not be exhaustive, so that other kinds of searches will be required if the Bibliography for 1966 onwards is to
Of course, as these searches continue, more items will show
up to supplement the entries for 1793-1965 as well. And some items in the Bibliography, mostly those we learned
about shortly before the work went to press, were not located, or seen, or
annotated. Some non-English-language items are not described, or annotated very
briefly, or not annotated at all. We have not yet been able to locate some
items which someone identified somewhere as definitely or probably containing
Coleridge material; and a few items we located but were not able to obtain in
time. The next Coleridge bibliographers might also wish to include with
annotations some of the reviews or review-articles we were able to list and
index only as book reviews.
If by some miracle, the music libraries of the British
Library and the Library of Congress - and other large music libraries, as well—
were given sufficient funds, lovers of literature and music would be enormously
benefited by the systematic cataloging of vocal music by authors of the words
as well as by composers of the music.
Studies in Non-English-Speaking Countries
Scholars working only in English and Western European
languages would benefit enormously if more work in Eastern European languages
and in languages written in other alphabets—such as Cyrillic, Japanese,
Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic—were somehow made available to them in English. The
most notable demonstration of what can be done along this line is the 1986
bibliography of Coleridge studies in Japan by the late Professor Rikichi
Katsurada, and its annotated English-language sequel now in progress under the
leadership of Professor Nobuo Takayama. English-language annotated
bibliographies of Coleridge scholarship in other languages would be important
steps towards the enrichment of Western scholars' understanding and
appreciation of Coleridge from a global perspective. Further contributions to
such enrichment would be English translations or full summaries of some of the
best examples of Coleridge scholarship in languages other than English.
Translations are essential to introduce literature written
in one language to students knowing only another. Some Japanese scholars
recognized this importance long ago. For example, Saito (1928) encouraged
Japanese students, "if they can write well in the vernacular
language," to translate English masterpieces. "Though translators are
usually slighted as if they were the servants of the original masters, their
humble service is of far greater importance to the progress of the native
literature than is generally thought." We hope that the many translations
of Coleridge annotated and indexed in this Bibliography
will encourage others to undertake such tasks.
Opportunities for Coleridge Studies
Extremely rare in literary scholarship generally, and non-existent
in Coleridge scholarship, are objective,
comparative studies of the way
interpretation and criticism of individual
Coleridge poems is presented in (1) individual
works of graphic art, or (2) individual
musical settings, or (3) individual
translations, or (4) individual
editorial treatments in annotated school editions and anthologies. Even the
non-verbal interpretations can be at least as illuminating as many a
traditional piece of literary criticism.
The principles and practices employed in comparative studies
of poetry and music also apply to such studies of oral interpretations. Few of
the many audio and audiovisual productions entered in volume III do justice to
Coleridge's poems. A good performance shows sensitivity to a poem's subtleties,
its felt-idea, the experience it embodies, the natural rhythms of its phrasing,
the music of its rhymes and other sound patterns, and it avoids the unnatural
effect of pronouncing some words in the modern way, especially the modern
American way, rather than the British way that would have been natural to
Until now, no study of Coleridge's reputation and influence
has been able to consider more than a very limited range of evidence. The
Coleridge Bibliography extends that
range enormously. For example, it provides material for study of the extent and
quality of Coleridge's effect on people celebrated in their day, many still
highly regarded. They include not only literary people but also artists and
patrons of the arts, political figures, socio-political writers, philosophers,
theologians, historians, scientists, and both major and minor celebrities in
other fields as well. Letters, journals, diaries, and autobiographies of such
persons, mostly English and American, are a category scattered throughout the Bibliography.
Coleridge's influence, however, has not been limited to
celebrities. As much of the material in Part II shows, many of his ideas and many
of the themes, characters, attitudes, and phrases from his works have become
part of the common language, uttered without thought by thousands of speakers
and writers, or if with thought, more often with no awareness of their origin.
Worthy of study is not only what our culture has absorbed of
Coleridge, but also the way that absorption manifests itself in allusion as
well as direct reference (see "The Matter of Allusion" in the
headnote to Part II). The methodology of allusion is a subject still wide open
for thorough study, and the Coleridge Bibliography
provides a gold-mine of material to be examined.
Other opportunities for Coleridge studies are discussed in
the introduction to volume III. Among them are a definitive book on Coleridge
portraits like Blanshard's Portraits of
Wordsworth (1959), as well as a comparative study of life portraits of
Coleridge, starting with analysis of the death mask by an anatomist and a
physical anthropologist and proceeding to objective comparison of the features
noted with those reproduced by the various portraitists. Then the portraits
could be compared with descriptions of Coleridge's face and figure contemporary
with the portraits.
Other topics for research include Coleridge's projected but
never written or finished writings; the women in Coleridge's life, taking into
account his stated views on women generally and on these women in particular,
and discussing his actual behavior towards women; the first-hand indication of
the interest in or the influence of Coleridge found in the published letters,
journals, diaries, notebooks, memoirs, and autobiographies of hundreds of
nineteenth-and twentieth -century notables; a comparison of the treatment of
Coleridge in biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, a category only
sampled in the Coleridge Bibliography;
but Coleridge scholars will find many other topics springing to mind during a
thoughtful perusal of Volume III, its Preface, Introduction, Part II headnotes,
and index 7.
Although the Crawfords' bibliographical work on Coleridge is
now finished, we shall continue to be active in matters pertaining to
Coleridge. We shall also continue our efforts to organize and expand the
Crawford Coleridge Collection in the Special Collections Department of the
Library of California State University, Long Beach, for the benefit of future
Coleridge bibliographers and other scholars.