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'Biographia Literaria' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Brief-answer Questions

Biographia Literaria

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

1. When and where was Coleridge born?

Ans: Coleridge was born on 21 October 1772 in the town of Ottery St Mary in Devon, England.

2. What was the first title of Biographia Literaria?

Ans: The first title of Biographia Literaria was Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions.

3. What is the meaning of “Biographia Literaria”?

Ans: The meaning of “Biographia Literaria” is "Literary Biography".

4. Who is Robert Southey?

Ans: Robert Southey is an English poet of the Romantic school. He was a Poet Laureate for 30 years.

5. What is ‘Descriptive Sketches”?

Ans: Descriptive Sketches is one of William Wordsworth's first two books published in January 1793.

6. What is “The Female Vagrant”?

Ans: “The Female Vagrant” is a poem by Wordsworth published in the Lyrical Ballads. 

7. What is the common belief about the relation between imagination and fancy?

Ans: The common belief about the relation between imagination and fancy is that they are all the same.

8. What is Coleridge's idea of fancy'? [NU 2016]

Ans: According to Coleridge, fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of time and space.

9. What is the use of fancy?

Ans: The use of fancy is to bring images together randomly. 

10. What is imagination? [NU 2017]

Ans: Imagination, according to Coleridge, is the working of poetic minds upon external objects or objects visible to the eyes.

11. How does S.T. Coleridge classify imagination?

Ans: Coleridge classifies imagination as Primary Imagination and Secondary Imagination. 

12. What is primary imagination?

Ans: Primary imagination is merely the power of receiving impression of the external world through the senses.

13. What is secondary imagination?

Ans: Secondary imagination is a shaping and modifying power that selects and orders the raw material and re-shapes and re-models it into objects of beauty. 

14. Who is John Milton?

Ans: John Milton is an English poet, pamphleteer, and historian who is considered the most significant English author after William Shakespeare.

15. What is the hobby-horse of Coleridge?

Ans: Metaphysics along with Psychology is the hobby-horse of Coleridge. 

16. Who is Spenser?

Ans: Edmund Spenser is one of the great poets of the English Renaissance. He is most known for his fantasy poem 'The Faerie Queen'.

17. What is Heroic couplet?

Ans: A heroic couplet is a traditional form for English poetry, commonly used in epic and narrative poetry, that consists of a rhyming pair of lines in iambic pentameter.

18. What is “willing suspension of disbelief’? [NU 2017]

Ans: The expression ‘Willing suspension of disbelief’, coined by S T Coleridge, means a willingness to suspend one's critical faculties and believe the unbelievable.

19. What is The Dark Lady?

Ans: The Dark Lady is a poem by S. T. Coleridge.

20. How does Coleridge distinguish 'poetry' and 'poem'?

Ans: Coleridge distinguishes 'poetry' and 'poem' by saying that ‘poetry’ is an activity of the poet’s mind, and a poem is merely one of the forms of its expression, a verbal expression of that activity.

21. What is the ultimate end of a work of art?

Ans: The ultimate end of a work of art is truth. 

22. How does poetry deal with truth?

Ans: Poetry deals with truth through pleasure. 

24. What is good sense?

Ans: Good sense, according to Coleridge, is the body of poetic genius. It is the desire that a poet possesses for doing good to his readers.

25. What is “Brothers”?

Ans: “Brothers” is a pastoral poem by Andrew Forster. 

26. What is Michael?

Ans: Michael is an old shepherd in the poem “Michael” by William Wordsworth.

27. What was Coleridge's objection to Wordsworth's selection of persons in his poems?

Ans: Coleridge's objection to Wordsworth's selection of persons in his poems is that the persons selected by Wordsworth are not rustic or low in reality.

28. What do you mean by the term, "Lingua Communist"?

Ans: The term, "Lingua Communist" means language of the common man.

29. How is the best part of human language formed?

Ans: According to Coleridge, the best part of human language is formed from ‘reflection on the acts of the mind itself’.

30. Why does Coleridge say that Wordsworth's theory of language is defective?

Ans: Coleridge says that Wordsworth's theory of language is defective because the best part of a man’s language does not result merely from communication with nature, but from education, from the mind of noble thoughts and ideals, and the vocabulary of the rustics is poor.