University of Leicester
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The Development of the Concepts of Materialism and Idealism in the Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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posted on 2018-01-31, 16:11 authored by Ali Kamil Sadeq Al-Saffar
The purpose of this thesis is to trace the development of the concepts of materialism and idealism in Coleridge’s poetry and philosophy. ‘Trace’, in this sense, signifies the poet’s interaction with earlier and contemporary schools of philosophy and how their thoughts and influences contributed to the gradual evolution of his poetic identity during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. As such, the study will trace Coleridge's literary and philosophical development from his early engagement with classical literature and philosophy, particularly Plato, down to Neoplatonism which will be initially represented here by the two key figures of Thomas Taylor (1758-1835) and Ralph Cudworth (1617-1688). The significance of this study lies in the renewed attention it will give to the poet’s endeavours to reform what he regarded as the constrictive influence of post-Lockean British philosophy. Furthermore, it attempts to show the poet's creative and causative abilities through which he has shown the possibility of synthesizing poetry and philosophy, mind and matter, in such a way that refutes the hypothesis of mind’s passiveness in front of mechanical nature. It will, therefore, demonstrate how Coleridge’s imagination invigorates the mind to transcend beyond the sphere of matter and nature itself.



Shaw, Philip; North, Julian

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of English

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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