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The Coleridge Bibliography

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: An Annotated Bibliography of Criticism and Scholarship. 3 vols. 1976, 1983, 1996.

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. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., An Imprint of Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1996. xxxv, 946 pp, including 7 indexes in 278 pp. 285 x 220mm. Contains more than 5700 entries, substantially annotated and elaborately indexed.
Volume III covers not only the usual forms of publication (books, pamphlets, articles and notes in periodicals, including newspapers) and the usual approaches (critical, historical, biographical, psychological, sociological, etc.). It also covers Coleridge portraits as well as the considerable body of other Coleridge-related visual art, music, sound recordings, motion pictures and filmstrips, radio and television broadcasts, live performances, and even electronic media, as well as satires, parodies, and imitations of his writings, completions (by other authors) of his unfinished poems, a selection of writings (fiction, drama, poetry) making imaginative use of material drawn from his life and works, and a wide variety of  miscellaneous Coleridge-related phenomena.

Volume II, 1900-1939 (with additional entries for 1795-1899). By Walter B. Crawford and Edward S. Lauterbach, with the assistance of Ann M. Crawford. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1983. xlix, 812 pp, including 7 indexes in 232 pp. 240 x 160mm. Contains 2811 entries, substantially annotated and elaborately indexed, 833 for 1795-1899 and 1978 for 1900-1939.

Volume I, 1793-1899. By Richard and Josephine Haven and Maurianne S. Adams. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1976. xxviii, 382 pp including 4 indexes in 122 pp. 240 x 160mm. 1907 entries.

These three published volumes are extended with the online selective Supplement2003, containing more than 400 items, many with illustrations.

Distinctive Features of Volume III

The general distinction of the Coleridge Bibliography was recognized by Max F. Schulz in his Coleridge chapter in The English Romantic Poets: A Review of Research and Criticism (MLA, 1985, pp 343-44). The bibliographers, he writes of volume II, "with Coleridgean zest for the grand project, aim to produce a bibliography so comprehensive and informative that 'the most thorough Coleridge scholar can rely on it for all his "literature search" for the period it covers.' . . . Coleridgean in scope and concern for method, this bibliography towers above previous such endeavors, a Xanadu among tract houses."

Coleridge (1772-1834) was not only a poet and literary critic, but also an esthetician, philosopher, theologian, scientific theorist, journalist, and socio-political theorist. Because he made major contributions in each of these fields, and so has had a varied and profound effect in many areas of human thought and activity, not only in his native Great Britain but also in America, Europe, and elsewhere, his ideas and works are discussed by many writers in all these fields. Also, because Coleridge was a fascinating human being, whose life was tragically marred by opium addiction, he is much written about by authors concerned with the role of drugs in artistic creation, as well as by authors presenting him for the drama of his life.

The Coleridge Bibliography achieves the following objectives:

  1. It brings together in a single, elaborately indexed work what thorough scholars would otherwise have to search for in literally thousands of volumes of library catalogs, bibliographies, indexes, reference works, and citations in Coleridge-related publications.
  2. Accordingly, it contains an extremely large number of items concerning Coleridge not listed in any other bibliography. These include many items that amount to a sampling of Coleridge material in categories of publications that some Coleridge students might not otherwise think of examining.
  3. By identifying all the significant and a great deal of insignificant material pertaining to Coleridge, it minimizes the likelihood that old discoveries of fact and insight will continue, as in the past, to be published as new every few years.
  4. By its comprehensive coverage and its detailed indexing of both general and very specific topics, it enables Coleridge scholars to identify overworked topics, it highlights cruxes in Coleridge scholarship and criticism, and it reveals topics overlooked or neglected.
The degree of comprehensiveness promised in the Preface to volume II  has been realized with the publication of volume III and in the online Supplement2003 .

Preferring to take a global view of Coleridge scholarship, rather than a provincial, regional, linguistic, or ethnic view, the Crawfords have included far more Coleridge material in languages other than English (23; items in 6 other languages not selected in 1966-94) than has been listed anywhere before. They have been especially attentive to translations of Coleridge, evidence of efforts to make his writings available to readers in other languages and other cultures, noting and indexing even translations of small portions of those works.

Also included are the results of a wide-ranging search of the published letters, journals, diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, and notebooks of hundreds of nineteenth- and twentieth-century figures from all walks of life, though especially those whose particular interests suggest that they might have been interested in Coleridge. The findings are surprising indicators of the attention paid Coleridge by prominent creative, intellectual, and political figures for two centuries.

An especially notable feature of the Coleridge Bibliography, particularly volume III, is the amount of supplemental information the Crawfords have supplied in the annotations. Whenever possible, lesser- known persons named in the Coleridge material annotated are identified, even if they are not so in the item itself, for the user's information and for proper indexing by full name. Frequently, context missing in the material being annotated has been supplied so that users will have a suitably complete picture, and not just a puzzle. Often supplied, as well, has been other related information deemed important, clarifying, useful, or interesting. The large quantity and variety of this supplemental information--often in what amounts to mini-essays--give this Bibliography dimensions of usefulness and interest well beyond those normally expected of like reference tools.

The Preface to volume III provides a model exposition of the purposes, scope, and limitations of the volume, information essential in any reference work if users are to know what to expect and at what point they must do additional research. This exposition is supported by the prefatory explanations introducing Part II and each of its ten sections, and introducing each of the seven indexes.

The Introduction provides an overview of the prevailing attitudes toward Coleridge, unusual and unique treatments of Coleridge, and the special opportunities in Coleridge studies it opens up, particularly for objective, comparative studies of the way interpretation and criticism of individual Coleridge poems is presented in (1) individual works of art, or (2) individual musical settings, or (3) individual translations, or (4) individual editorial treatments in annotated school editions and anthologies. Non-verbal interpretations are often at least as illuminating as many a piece of traditional literary criticism.

"The Matter of Allusion, with Special Reference to Coleridge," an essay appended to the headnote to Part II, discusses the different kinds of allusion, the different ways that allusions operate, the favorite allusions to Coleridge and his works, and the ways some of these allusions have mutated over time. Besides general illumination of the matter of allusion, this essay provides a background for understanding the criteria an item had to meet to be included in sections of Part II.

The Coleridge Bibliography is a uniquely valuable reference tool both for non-specialist readers and for Coleridge scholars at the beginning of their careers as well as those long established, particularly for those desiring comprehensive coverage of traditional material and those hoping to find a wide range of unusual and less traditional material.

 

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