Coleridge and the Uses of Division
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... a supple, intelligent study ... Coleridge's tangled relationship with Wordsworth receives an especially discerning interpretation ... For all its careful scholarship, Perry's book forms a spirited addition to performative criticism of Romantic literature, miming in its own workings the mental operations it describes. Perry writes with a capacious nimbleness that allows him to keep pace with and track of 'the windings of Coleridge's writings', and do justice to their brilliant 'zigzaggery'.
Michael O'Neill, Times Literary Supplement (11 February 2000).
It is not easy to demonstrate the full range of the achievement in this book, where the quality is consistently so high, notable things being said on virtually every page. A brief review cannot do justice to excellencies which are close-packed and self-manifesting. One can only say that Coleridge's achievement, which still suffers from the diffusiveness of its survival in letters, notebooks and marginal comments in books, is brought a whole stage further by this study, particularly for readers who have not the time to tease out the scattered insights for themselves. It is a book to buy and to keep, providing a perfect complement to Holmes's biography by displaying to the full the quality of Coleridge's mind and achievements, together with the validity of the intellectual concerns he constantly lived with.
John Beer, Romanticism on the Net (June 2000)
This is the book every Coleridge scholar would love to have written ... Perry's authorial presence is erudite and judicious, a companion through the labyrinth, an enthusiast who can be ironic about his enthusiasms ... Books about Coleridge usually end up sacrificing one or more aspects of their subject in order to present a coherent view. Perry's singular achievement is to have brought all these partial Coleridges within his three hundred pages ... Perry's critical intelligence has been well schooled in the British tradition that numbers Empson, Grigson, Kermode, Barbara Hardy, John Beer, and John Bayley among its brightest stars. This book shows how vigorous the tradition remains.Anthony John Harding, BARS Bulletin and Review (October 2000)
Do not use this review as a substitute: read the book, one of the best on Coleridge in decades. Perry, a young scholar, writes with deft grace, conversational point and charm, with a density of thought never betrayed by its clarity of expression. Though too strenuous for most beginning students, this is a magnificent examen for those already introduced. Perry displays flair, tact, range, humor, and command of commentary. An active, capacious intelligence here engages a restless, profound one. This is Perry's first book; it reminds one of Bacon's remark on the acuity of a young man: Yes, his years may have been short, but his hours have been long. Yet there is no worried lucubration, this is superb exposition. On the cover is a still life by Georges Braque. Why? It depicts the irreducible fact that life contains separate things, seen together. The book ends with the word 'love'. It is fitting. This is that intellectual love which cannot stand dividually from imagination; they are each in each. It is, in a higher register, the love that moves the sun and stars as separate bodies in their single cosmic dance. It is the 'complicating diversitarian love' of a lifetime of experience in this world (p. 291). It is not unrelated to the love that blesses the blue, glossy green, and velvet black water snakes in their tracks of golden fire. The uses of division are great.
James Engell, Romanticism (Spring 2001)
... magnificent ... It would be hard to do justice to the stylistic verve of the book, its patient and dazzlingly
elegant elucidation of complex problems. What can be said is that it takes its place among the very best books
on Coleridge and that no university or college library should be without it.
Neil Vickers, Review of English Studies (Summer 2001)
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