Author(s) Ekaterina P. Zykova
Information about the author(s) Ekaterina P. Zykova, DSc in Phiilology, Leading Research Fellow, A. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia. E-mail: epzykova@ yandex.ru
Received Ortoder 18, 2016
Published -
Issue Vol. 1, no 3–4
Department World Literature
Pages 122-140
DOI DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2016-1-3-4-122-140
UDK 821.111
BBK 83.3 (4 Англ.)
Abstract The article deals with spiritual progress of S.T. Coleridge from his youthful interest in the followers of Locke (his direct predecessors in English intellectual tradition) to his fascination with pantheism, to his study of Kant and Shelling, and to his final embracing of Christian faith in its Anglican version. Coleridge viewed himself as a poet-philosopher, whose intuitive faith should be founded on philosophical premises and should find its expression both in his works and his life, and should correspond to his existential experience. His spiritual growth took place in the last decades of the 18 th century, in the atmosphere of decline of Anglican faith and of intensive development of natural sciences and empirical rationalist philosophy, which influenced both religion and aesthetics (including new conception of imagination). In England it were the Romantics of the Lake School, and Coleridge first of all, who transformed 18 th century theory of imagination regarding it as an instrument of knowledge, as a means of penetrating into the spiritual world. Another line of continuity linked Coleridge to the religious thought of that age: he was interested in Methodism and Unitarianism. Being disillusioned in Unitarianism, Coleridge was fascinated for some time by Spinoza’s pantheism (expressed in his poem “Aeolian Harp”), but soon he felt that this system takes off man’s responsibility, and consequently, his moral liberty. He found the antidote from pantheism in Kantian philosophy, but the fact that for Kant, God and freedom were regulative and not absolute notions impelled the poet to continue his search and turn to Shelling. Coleridge craved for the vindication of man’s spiritual freedom but he also needed the proof that the world we live in, as it is created by God, is somehow spiritualized, and this he found in the philosophy of Shelling. But soon the philosophical synthesis achieved by Shelling appeared too formal to Coleridge. It is in Christian faith, in the dogma of Trinity that Coleridge found a reconciliation of the spiritualization of the outward world he valued in Spinozism, on the one hand, and moral freedom of the self, on the other hand.
Keywords reason, imagination, free will, necessity, Methodism, Unitarianism, pantheism, Anglicanism.
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