Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Current light reading: Coleridge on autobiography

In search of some material on albatrosses, I happened upon an old copy of the Penguin Portable Coleridge I had on the shelf. The following excerpt from his letters interested me enough that I thought it deserved a place in the blogosphere. Perhaps some bloggers (myself, in particular?) could take his advice to heart:
I could inform the dullest author how he might write an interesting book. Let him relate the events of his own life with honesty, not disguising feelings that accompanied them. I never yet read even a Methodist's Experience in the "Gospel Magazine" without receiving instruction and amusement; and I should almost despair of that man who could peruse the Life of John Woolman without an amelioration of heart. As to my Life, it has all the charms of variety, -- high life and low life, vices and virtues, great folly and some wisdom. However, what I am depends on what I have been; and you, my best Friend! have a right to the narration. To me the task will be a useful one. It will renew and deepen my reflections on the past; and it will perhaps make you behold with no unforgiving or impatient eye those weaknesses and defects in my character, which so many untoward circumstances have concurred to plant there ...

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