Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Recent links of note:

“Rime without reason”
Kelly Grovier, Times Literary Supplement
The image of young-poet-as-wizened-prophet may be as old as poetry itself. The type is exemplified, for example, by Lycidas: a musing on the divine injustice of untimely death, written by the virginal twenty-eight-year-old John Milton. In the case of Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, however, the critic Malcolm Guite believes the young author to have prophesied far beyond the general wisdom that comes with old age. Reviewing Guite’s book Mariner in the Times Literary Supplement, Kelly Grovier traces Guite’s theory that Coleridge managed to predict the tragic details of his own future in the plot of his signature ballad. Sensibly, neither Mr. Guite nor Ms. Grovier dares to suggest that Coleridge possessed the literal gift of psionic vision. And yet, their momentary suspension of disbelief allows for a worthy meditation on the way that young poets have often managed to see further into the dark substance of life than their youth and inexperience would seem to allow.

“New York History Goes Into Hiding”
James Panero, The Wall Street Journal
In his remarks at The New Criterion’s Edmund Burke Award gala on Wednesday, Philippe de Montebello mourned the fact that “the conversation” among the works in museums—the way that they subtly and silently complement each other—is being drowned out by “tangential activities” and “a rush to notoriety.” As the former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a specialist in European painting, it is unlikely that Mr. de Montebello had the New-York Historical Society specifically in mind. Yet there can be no doubt that that museum’s recently finished $35-million-dollar overhaul is a glaring example of the trend he’s lamenting. In a review of this redesign for The Wall Street Journal, the New Criterion executive editor James Panero criticized NYHS’s shift from the straightforward display of historical artifacts toward a reframing of the collection with their own modern narratives. As this pattern of gutting spreads to each new institution, lovers of simple museum displays should hope that the warnings of Messrs. de Montebello and Panero are being heard far and wide.

From our pages:

“Amid the gore & farce”
Dominic Green
On The White Devil at Shakespeare’s Globe in London.