Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Little Lessons from the Masters, III

Here are two from Coleridge.  From a letter:

My dear fellow!  never be ashamed of scheming! -- you can't think of living less than 4,000 years, and that would nearly suffice for your present schemes.  To be sure, if they go on in the same ratio to the performance, then a small difficulty arises; but never mind! look on the bright side always and die in a dream!

And from a journal:

The common end of all narrative, nay, of all, poems is to convert a series into a whole:  to make those events, which in real or imagined History, move in a strait Line, assume to our Understandings a circular motion -- the snake with it's tail in it's mouth.


Apr. 17th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC)
Dreaming is Bad
One of the current theories about why we dream is that a dream is the brain's mechanism for shedding information that cannot be placed into a narrative. The brain wrestles with non-narrative data. Narrative allows for digestion. Therefore, dreaming and scheming are anti-poetic. Nietzsche believed that dreaming killed his creativity. Coleridge didn't understand the harm he was doing to himself.
Apr. 17th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Dreaming is Bad
So... "A damsel with a dulcimer, in a vision once I saw..."

Must have been what done him in.
Apr. 17th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Dreaming is Bad
Not for writers of horror, many of whom are self-proclaimed lucid dreamers. Lovecraft's dreams were the source of many of his early stories--but the nightmares as he wrote them down in letters are (to me) scarier than the published fiction.
Apr. 18th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: Dreaming is Bad
Coleridge loved to stare at things, and God bless him for that. I mean really stare. He could stare so hard sometimes his eye-stalks crackled, like when you pull the wrapper from a hard candy. It was very distracting to opera-goers.
Apr. 18th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
Re: Dreaming is Bad
This is about as inadequate as an explanation of what we actually see and experience in dreams as any of the others. I have no idea what "information" in this context actually means, or how the dream is a shedding of it. Most of my dreams do not contain non-narrative data that I can't deal with in waking life; very many dreams seem to have a very gratifying narrative, though wholly unrelated to events in my life, except considered "symbolically" however that's to be treated. If my brain is "shedding information" in the background unknown to me while I watch the picture show and suffer and hope and enjoy, well how is that determined? What's the evidence?