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WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, Esq., P. L.
MY DEAR MR. WORDSWORTH, I have received with great pleasure your permission to inscribe to you this new edition of my Father's Biographia Literaria. You will find in it some of the latest writings of my dear departed Husband ;-- come too of my own, to which I know you will be indulgent; but my chief reason for dedicating it to you is, that it contains, though only in a brief and fragmentary form, an account of the Life and Opinions of your friend, S. T. Coleridge, in which I feel assured that, however you may dissent from portions of the latter, you take a high and peculiar interest. His name was early associated with yours from the time when you lived as neighbors, and both together sought the Muse, in the lovely Tale of Stowey. That this association may endure as long as you are both remembered,—that not only as a Poet, but as a Lover and a Teacher of Wisdom, my Father may continue to be spoken of in connection with you, while your writings become niore and more fully and widely appreciated, is the dearest and proudest wish that I can form for his memory.
I remain, dear Mr. Wordsworth,
REGENT'S PARK, January 30, 1847.
This new edition of my Father's Biographia Literaria was partly prepared for publication by his late Editor. The corrections of the text in the first nine or ten chapters, and chapters xiii. xiv. xv. and perhaps xvi. are by his hand; the notes signed " Editor" were written by him; and he drew up the Biographical Supplement (the first three chapters of it containing the Letters), which is placed at the end of the volume. His work it has fallen to me to complete, and the task has been interesting, though full of affecting remembrances, and brought upon me by the deepest sorrow of my life. The biographical sketch I have published as I found it, with trifling alterations and omi: ns, filling up a few gaps and supplying the mottoes. Had the writer himself taken it up again, he would probably have improved and continued it.
I have only to add that my thanks are due to many kind friends, who have assisted me in my part of the undertaking with advice, information, or loan of books; especially my Father's dear Friend and Fellow Student, Mr. Green, Archdeacon Hare, and
my brother-in-law, Mr. Justice Coleridge. I am also much indebted for help toward my work to Mr. Pickering, by whom a great number of the books referred to in the notes viere placed in
Motives to the present work-Reception of the Author's first publica
tion-Discipline of his taste at school-Effect of contemporary
writers on youthful minds—Bowles's Sonnets—Comparison between
the poets before and since Pope
Supposed irritability of men of genius brought to the test of facts-
The Author's obligations to Critics, and the probable occasion-Prin-
ciples of modern Criticism-Mr. Southey's works and character . . 178
The Lyrical Ballads with the Preface—Mr. Wordsworth's earlier poems
-On Fancy and Imagination—The investigation of the distinction
Of the necessary consequences of the Hartleian Theory-Of the original
mistake or equivocation which procured its admission-Memoria
- The system of Dualism introduced by Des Cartes--Refined first by
Spinoza and afterwards by Leibnitz into the doctrine of Harmonia
præstabilita—Hylozoism-Materialism. -None of these systems, or
any possible theory of Association, supplies or supersedes a theory
of Perception, or explains the formation of the Associable .
Is Philosophy possible as a science, and what are its conditions ?–Gior-
dano Bruno-Literary Aristocracy, or the existence of a tacit com-
pact among the learned as a privileged order— The Author's obliga-
tions to the Mystics—to Immanuel Kant-The difference between
the letter and the spirit of Kant's writings, and a vindication of
prudence in the teachings of Philosophy-Fichte's attempt to com-
plete the Critical system—Its partial success and ultimate failure-
Obligations to Schelling; and among English writers to Saumarez . 247
A Chapter of digression and anecdotes, as an interlude preceding that
on the nature and genesis of the Imagination or Plastic Power-On
Pedantry and pedantic expressions-Advice to young authors re-
specting publication—Various anecdotes of the Author's literary
life, and the progress of his opinions in Religion and Politics . . .272
un affectionate exhortation to those who in early life feel themselves