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THE aim of the present edition of Coleridge's Biographia Literaria is to furnish an accurate reprint of the edition of 1817, with such additional matter as may contribute to a fuller understanding of the text. For this purpose there have been appended, first, a reprint of Coleridge's strictly aesthetical writings; secondly, notes elucidatory of the text; and thirdly, an introductory essay dealing with Coleridge's theory of the imagination.
The only annotated edition of the Biographia Literaria hitherto published is the second edition of 1847, edited by Coleridge's daughter and son-in-law, and now long out of print. The notes on the philosophical portion of the text in this edition are very exhaustive, and I have found them of great assistance in preparing my own; but, as a whole, the edition does not meet the needs of the reader of to-day. My own aim has been to provide such a commentary on the text as will prove serviceable both to philosophical and to literary students; and, above all, to furnish adequate references to other passages in Coleridge's published writings on the various topics dealt with in the text, and thus to illustrate the continuity of his opinions, especially as they regard the nature of art and the principles of artistic criticism.
It cannot, I think, be said that Coleridge's philosophy of art has ever received in England the consideration which it deserves. For this neglect many causes might be