Tim Fulford

Spinosa takes to the hills; or, did Coleridge invent the field trip. The influence of the Harz Tour on English Science
My paper discusses an unexpected consequence of the post-Gottingen mountain tour that Coleridge took with, among others, Georg Blumenbach, George Bellas Greenough and Clement Carlyon - nothing less than the development, in Britain, of geology as a practice and discipline. I place at the centre of my discussion a man who was not present on the tour, but whom Coleridge enthused after his return to Bristol. Having met Coleridge, Humphry Davy, the young chemical researcher, was soon following Coleridge's footsteps into the hills. He collected minerals and observed rock formations, and he wrote a poem entitled 'The Spinosist' -- enquiring into a nature that he viewed as a single dynamic 'economy' of processes by both scientific and poetic experiment. Coleridge used this poem to introduce Davy to Carlyon and Greenough, and Greenough became Davy's companion on several geologizing hiking tours of Wales and Ireland. Together, these men became founders of the world's first Geological Society (of London, 1807). Most significantly, they gave British geology, in its formative years, a distinctly Coleridgean aspect: pantheist in philosophy and eclectic in method - involving poetic appreciation as well as specimen collection. As a social practice it reflected the Harz tour - a matter of groups of young, middle-class ex-jacobins bonding with each other as, beyond the library and the laboratory, they roved the hills and interpreted nature's secrets (deep time; convulsive change). [Programme]

John Guthrie

Translation and Literary Criticism in Eighteenth-Century Germany. The Case of Milton
Abstract TBA [Programme]

Philipp Hunnekuhl

Prosody and morality: Herder, Wordsworth, and Crabb Robinson
Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867) was an early admirer of Wordsworth (through Hazlitt's influence in 1799). When in Germany in 1802, Robinson received the third edition of Lyrical Ballads, now including the expanded Preface on poetics. In the following year, Robinson lent this edition to Herder, who thus, shortly before his death, became an admirer of Wordsworth. Back in London in 1808, Robinson began to publish a series of articles on Herder for the Unitarian Monthly Repository, and also for the first time met and discussed poetry with Wordsworth in person. This paper aims to elucidate the agreement in 'poetical language' and parallels in 'matters of Religion & Morality' between Herder and Wordsworth that Robinson discerned, relished, and disseminated. [Programme]

Maike Oergel

Zeitgeist and the Spirit of the Age: Hare and Hazlitt's engagement with a new (German) idea
Although its genealogy reaches back to the 17th-century genius saeculi, 'Zeitgeist' emerged as a key term in the 1790s in German discussions about the French Revolution, where it functioned as a tool to grasp the reasons and dynamics behind the rapidly spreading new ideas. Although similar content was discussed in Britain at this time, its closest English version, spirit of the age, did not have the same prominence here. 'Spirit of the Age' did, however, become a catch phrase in the 1820s. The paper has two aims: by investigating two different individual receptions of contemporary German thinking on the present age (Hare's and Hazlitt's), it traces a specific Anglo-German encounter (on how to best implement political and cultural change) and proposes a conception of the dynamics of the transfer of ideas. [Programme]

Eugenia Perojo

Foreign and Native Sources and Background of Coleridge's Criticism of Don Juan in Biographia Literaria
Coleridge's criticism of Don Juan in chapter 23 of Biographia Literaria is inserted within his critique of Charles Maturin's tragedy Bertram. The rich texture that this critical piece offers allows us to follow several strands from the author's literary, political and social discourse at the time of the composition of Biographia Literaria. Critics have discussed it in relation to Coleridge's views of Gothic drama, but its Spanish background has been rather neglected. However, certain textual variants in the Biographia Literaria version, as well as its location after the discussion on drama and national character in the 'Satyrane's Letters', reveal its significance for the author. In this paper, I analyse the reasons that may have led Coleridge to choose the 'old Spanish play' to counter British and German contemporary fashionable drama, I propose some possible sources and I discuss what I call his '(dis)engagement' with the Spanish cultural tradition. [Programme]

Susan Reed

'The best German Library out of Germany': Collecting and Collections from Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Germany in the British Library
Although the Library of the British Museum was founded in 1753 as an international scholarly library rather than a national library in the narrow sense, the systematic and sustained collecting of contemporary literature and scholarship from abroad only began in the first decades of the 19th century. From the 1830s onwards, the work of Antonio Panizzi and Thomas Watts laid the foundations for collections of true international scope through both current and retrospective acquisitions. The development of the Library's German collections in this period reflects the increasing importance of German as a language of international scholarship and the growing British interest in German culture and thought in the course of the 19th century. Today's collecting policies continue to recognise Germany's importance as a major player in international academic publishing and to complement and reflect the Library's rich holdings of German material from earlier centuries. [Programme]

Elinor Shaffer

Coleridge and the Higher Criticism: Cambridge, Bristol and Göttingen
One of the most important intellectual undertakings of the European Enlightenment was the new translations of the Bible in light of historical, philological, and analytical approaches to its content. This paper examines the engagement of Coleridge with the Higher Criticism during the 1790s, culminating in his discussions with Johann Gottlieb Eichhorn in Göttingen. Coleridge had already learnt of the Unitarian plans for a new translation of the Bible while at Cambridge. From Beddoes's circle he learnt of the principles being elucidated in Germany by Eichhorn for a philologically sound procedure for such a retranslation of the Bible, already laid out in Eichhorn's work on the Old Testament. In 1799, Coleridge travelled to the University of Göttingen where he personally met Eichhorn and heard his lectures on the New Testament in advance of publication. [Programme]

Neil Vickers

Coleridge and Beddoes
In this paper, I will offer a brief survey of Thomas Beddoes's influence on Coleridge, laying particular stress on Beddoes's polymathic intellectual personality, which Coleridge admired. Throughout his career, Coleridge blew hot and cold on Beddoes. Beddoes's insatiable intellectual curiosity resembled Coleridge's own in some respects and Coleridge was one of a very small number of people who would have been capable of doing justice to Beddoes's many-sidedness. Both men might be described as theoretically-oriented empiricists. Beddoes seems to have aroused a great deal of ambivalence in those who knew him, partly because he was the victim of gossip. Coleridge once resolved to tell Beddoes 'wherein he is truly great & useful, & wherein he manifestly injures his own powers of benefiting his Fellow-Creatures.' In this paper, I will make suggestions as to what Coleridge might have said about his friend, if this conversation had ever taken place. [Programme]

James Vigus

A Goethe for the Unitarians: Henry Crabb Robinson reviews Sarah Austin's Characteristics of Goethe (1833)
This paper will focus on Henry Crabb Robinson's substantial review of a book to which he had contributed: Sarah Austin's compilation Characteristics of Goethe, published the year after the German poet died. I will focus on the significance of the publication context of the review: The Monthly Repository was a Unitarian journal, reflecting the religious backgrounds of both Austin and Robinson. I will place the review in the context of Robinson's larger effort to provide a critical overview of Goethe's collected works in a series of articles for the same periodical. Further, I consider how Goethe's religious and philosophical speculations, revealed in Austin's translations, contributed to the reawakening of the inquiring spirit that Robinson had displayed during his first visit to Germany three decades previously. [Programme]

Maximiliaan van Woudenberg

Mineralogy meets 'Kubla Khan': The Harzreise of Coleridge and the 'Carlyon-Parry-Greenation' in 1799
After a few months studying at the library and attending Professor Blumenbach's lectures at the University of Göttingen, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and his English companions, Charles Parry, George Bellas Greenough, and Clement Carlyon, embark on an eight-day tour of the Harz Mountains. While it is often foregrounded that the landscape and the Brocken Spectre in the Harz Mountains inspired poetic responses, it was also the site of industrial mining, mineralogy, and geological exploration. This paper examines the Harz encounters of Coleridge and the 'Carlyon-Parry-Greenation' against the backdrop of the Enlightenment structures of the lecture and library as knowledge transfers at the University of Göttingen. [Programme]

Last updated: 20 March 2019