Frances Ferguson, "Coleridge and the Deluded Reader"
Explain: "The criticism of 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' reflects
a craving for causes" (113).
What is wrong with the parenthetical citation of the indented quote
Explain "the categories of poetic appreciation" that Wordsworth and
Coleridge "were explicitly attacking in Lyrical Ballads"(114).
Explain: "The difficulty of the poem is that the possibility of
learning from the Mariner's experience depends upon sorting that experience
into a more linear and complete pattern than the poem ever agrees to do"
Explain: "The Gloss provides a strange kind of clarity and unity"
Explain: "The Gloss comments . . . bespeak conclusions that do
not echo the main text because the main text never reaches such value judgments"
Explain: "The Gloss . . . finds significance and interpretability,
but only by reading ahead of—or beyond—the main text" (119).
Explain "the cause-and-effect pattern" that "the main text never quite
Explain: "Intention and effect are absolutley discontinuous" (120).
Explain: "Every interpretation involves a moral commitment with
consequences that are inevitably more far-reaching and unpredictable than
one could have imagined" (123).
Explain: "Coleridge vented his spleen against common schemes of
the progress of knowledge" (125).
How, according to Ferguson, might Coleridge be like Milton's Satan?
Explain Coleridge's "golden rule" about understanding the works of other
Explain: "If you are what you read, plagiarism (in a more or less
obvious form) becomes inevitable" (128).
Explain Ferguson's suggestion that the Ancient Mariner capitulates to
the devil. Why is redemption the final topic addressed by the essay?
Other Discussion Questions:
Explain: "All the evidences of moral value are mutually contradictory"
What, according to Ferguson, is the main difference between the "literary
morals" of Barbauld and Coleridge?
Explain: "If reading and interpretation are the genesis of moral
action, they may be infinitely divorced for moral outcome" (122).
Explain: "Reading involves one's entire set of beliefs about the
Explain: "It seems that the reader can only read the texts that
say what he already knows" (128).
Explain: "A man must be virtuous to understand the understanding
of anyone else's knowledge—and thus to be virtuous" (128).