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274Philosophy and Literature of this switch of critical categories: almost everywhere that Alderman sees drama, one might just as well see narrative. Similarly, Alderman's relatively uncritical adoption of the literary critic's quest for an "overall Gestalt" (p. 15) could be countered by an emphasis on the ambiguity and fragmentation of the text. As Derrida has suggested, there is an intimate link in Nietzsche between the idea of writing as always referring back to an earlier writing and the suggestion that the self is to be conceived as a rhythm in a complex series of signs rather than as a center of intelligibility. Even though my own inclination would be to develop the latter suggestions, Alderman's book is consistently interesting and offers one of the only sustained and plausible poetic and rhetorical readings of Nietzsche. University of KansasGary Shapiro Coleridge the Moralist, by Laurence S. Lockridge; pp. 293. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1977, $12.50. As Professor Lockridge reminds us, Coleridge is reputed to have breakfasted on six fried eggs and a pint of laudanum; but this may calumniate the sage, who was probably too indolent to consume all six eggs. Although Byron and Peacock regarded him as a ludicrous windbag, some of today's students may possibly find in Coleridge's features attractive resemblances to their own: for he was addicted both to drugs and jargon, this fat Hamlet who instead of fighting the duel would have promised a treatise on the subject, plagiarized half of it and forgotten to write the rest. Like Wordsworth, who overshadowed him, and like numerous radicals since that time, he was a backslider, beginning as an enthusiast for revolution and Utopian egalitarianism and ending as a defender of Christianity and Toryism: vox populi may be vox diaboli, he mused. His reputation rests chiefly on four or five memorably vivid poems, but he has been a quietly pervasive influence as literary critic and discursive philosopher. Laurence Lockridge's aim is to offer a survey of numerous Coleridgean themes and topics, among them "Freedom and Alienation" and "The Problem of Duty." He accepts the tricky task of relating to the prose works the formidable strangeness of the major poems. The discussion has a proficient fluency, some glints of ironic humor, and a recognition of the awkwardnesses and inconsistencies of Coleridge's outlook. "We must keep in mind that most of his assertions are problematic and subject to qualification or even rejection . . . the paradoxes and contradictions in his theory are coordinate with the man himself. He has great psychological acumen, yet he is compulsively unmindful of the most important facts about himself. He is the noisy propounder of principles who leads a most unprincipled life . . ." (pp. 98-99). While thus acknowledging paradoxicality, Lockridge is also concerned to suggest certain unifying patterns within Coleridge's development: for example, Shorter Reviews2 75 a distrust of human nature, a recognition of man's susceptibility to anarchic impulse, which links the early thinker with the late, and which connects the poet of "The Ancient Mariner" with the foe of democracy. I think that Lockridge succeeds in establishing his claim that "the change in political orientation between the young and the old Coleridge is not so drastic as used to be thought" (p. 270); and I like the way in which the discussion, by concluding with an analysis of "Frost at Midnight," places the final emphasis where it surely should be placed, on Coleridge's poetic wisdom. My misgivings about this book are, firstly, that I sometimes find it hard to see the wood for the trees, and a greater attention by the author to chronology and historical background would have been helpful; and, secondly, that the accounts of the poems moved too rapidly towards philosophical paraphrase, spending too little time on poetic texture and imaginative impact. The book rightly points out that against Coleridge's tendency to lofty abstraction plays a tendency to sensuous concreteness, so perhaps the analyses might have given a little more attention to the latter. University of SussexCedric Watts Paper Tigers: The Ideal Fictions ofJorge Luis Borges, by John Sturrock; pp. 227. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977, $12.95. It takes a...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 274-275
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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