Coleridge and Textual Instability: The Multiple Versions of the Major Poems
Oxford University Press, 1994 M05 12 - 272 pages
Jack Stillinger establishes and documents the existence of numerous different authoritative versions of Coleridge's best-known poems: sixteen or more of The Eolian Harp, for example, eighteen of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and comparable numbers for This Lime-Tree Bower, Frost at Midnight, Kubla Khan, Christabel, and Dejection: An Ode. Such multiplicity of versions raises interesting theoretical and practical questions about the constitution of the Coleridge canon, the ontological identity of any specific work in the canon, the editorial treatment of Coleridge's works, and the ways in which multiple versions complicate interpretation of the poems as a unified (or, as the case may be, disunified) body of work. Providing much new information about the texts and production of Coleridge's major poems, Stillinger's study offers intriguing new theories about the nature of authorship and the constitution of literary works.
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Jack Stillinger has really done his research on this one. He has pointed out effectively the existence of variety of poems by Coleridge, and the various controversies revolving around multiple versions of Coleridge's poems. In my studies I have concluded that some of the different versions may in fact be clever forgeries, and that in all probability that (despite drafts and alternative versions created by Coleridge himself), there may have, in fact, been problems with sabotage of Coleridge's major works resulting in multiple versions of the same poem. Keep up the good work Mr. Stillinger. This book is a must read for those seeking to understand the period in which Coleridge worked and wrote.