16 votes
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Meaning of "all the boards did shrink" in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

You are correct in that the boards are the planks of wood from which the ship is constructed. Although nautically, "boards" is more often used to refer to the decking than to the hull. In hot dry ...
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15 votes
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Is the mariner immortal?

It seems so, yes. After the game played between Death and Life-in-Death, in which the latter wins the soul of the Ancient Mariner while the former claims all his crewmates, the Mariner is left all ...
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15 votes
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Who chained the albatross to the mariner's neck?

Here is the verse in additional context: Ah! well a-day! what evil looks Had I from old and young!Instead of the cross, the albatross About my neck was hung. Why is the albatross there? Well, ...
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6 votes

Who was Coleridge's "schoolman"?

The same phrase can also be found in Elements of Religious Philosophy, Preliminary to the Aphorism on Spiritual Religion (reprinted in The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Volume 9: Aids to ...
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4 votes

Who was Coleridge's "schoolman"?

The phrase appears to be widely credited to St Augustine, although I can find no source which directs me to where he said it or how it was recorded. For example: J Newman writing in Illinois ...
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4 votes

What's the meaning of "my censures" as in Coleridge's “Biographia Literaria”

Neither. Coleridge is referring to his own reservations about some of Wordsworth's poems. The context makes this clear: A friend whose talents I hold in the highest respect, but whose judgment and ...
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4 votes
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What does “the cause” refer to in Coleridge's “Biographia Literaria”?

TL;DR: Coleridge means the cause of the criticism of the poetry of Southey, Wordsworth, and himself, which he believes was Wordsworth’s preface to Lyrical Ballads. The background to this passage is ...
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4 votes

Why did Samuel Coleridge metaphorise 'work without hope ' as 'nectar in a sieve'?

Note that he doesn't write that one "sieves nectar in a sieve," but rather that one attempts to draw nectar in a sieve, as one would draw water from a well. See one of Merriam-Webster's definitions: ...
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3 votes

Who chained the albatross to the mariner's neck?

The comparison of the albatross to the cross alludes to the cross not as a symbol of faith, but as a symbol of penance. Remember, Christ was executed on the cross. When the captain killed the bird, ...
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3 votes
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What's the meaning of "preceding" as in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria

The sentence is part of a letter addressed to Coleridge that the poet cites in its entirety near the end of Chapter XIII of Biographia Literaria. In that chapter, Coleridge discusses his theory of the ...
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3 votes
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What is “the well known story of the picture” in Coleridge's “Biographia Literaria”?

The publication date of the Biographia (1817) made me wonder if this was anything to do with early photography. It turns out that Thomas Wedgwood was carrying out early experiments with sensitised ...
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3 votes
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Symbolism and romanticism as literary movements

I think just comparing two poems to try to figure out the difference between Romanticism and Symbolism is very misleading. I believe that Symbolist poets wrote poems which spanned the whole spectrum ...
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2 votes
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Why "all should cry, Beware! Beware!" in Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"?

In the final stanza, the poet writes: Could I revive within me Her symphony and song, To such a deep delight 'twould win me, That with music loud and long, I would build that dome in air, That sunny ...
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2 votes

What is “the well known story of the picture” in Coleridge's “Biographia Literaria”?

We can reconstruct, I think, what the story must have been, from Coleridge’s brief précis of it. Perhaps it was something like this: A painter was present at an exhibition of his works and overheard ...
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2 votes

What were the original titles/structure in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?

This is not an exact answer to the original question. TROTAM was first published in Bristol in 1798 in a collection by Coleridge and Wordsworth, Lyrical Ballads. As one might expect, the very first ...
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1 vote

Why isn't Coleridge's line about trochees missing an unstressed syllable?

If you continue the meter to the next line, you find it is unstressed (From), completing the trochee from the previous line's stressed syllable (short). Now, if you continue, you might find another ...
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1 vote

Why isn't Coleridge's line about trochees missing an unstressed syllable?

It was very difficult to find analysis let alone explanation of this poem so I apologise for any unsupported reasoning. It is in trochaic tetrameter, because there are four trochees in the first line,...
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