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Professor Orsini’s book enters the controversy that has marked the changing response to Coleridge’s work during the past forty years, stimulated recently by the accessibility of Coleridge manuscripts and by the publication of hitherto unpublished works. Professor Orsini himself contributes to our new knowledge by publishing here for the first time texts from the notebooks. His book is of importance and interest because it examines problems which are rooted in world-wide intellectual developments of recent times.
Counterposing his argument against the theory that Coleridge had anticipated Kant and Schelling, Professor Orsini marshalls impressive evidence that shows that Coleridge was familiar with the works of the German idealists and that they greatly influenced his thinking, to the extent that he was for a time an expounder of transcendental idealism, and should be credited with bringing it to England. Professor Orsini’s new findings will lead inevitably to reassessment of Coleridge’s status as a philosopher, though he insists that his report is an interim one, that a final estimate must wait until all Coleridge’s writings have been published and assessed.
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Gian N. G. Orsini is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin. Among his recent books is Benedetto Croce: Philosopher of Art and Literary Critic.
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