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E.ctract from a Letter written by Mr. Coleridge,
in February, 1818, to a gentleman who attended the course of Lectures given in the spring of that year. See the Canterbury Vagazine, September, 1834. Ed.
Y next Friday's lecture will, if I do not grossly flatter-blind myself, be interesting, and the points of view not only
original, but new to the audience. I make this distinction, because sixteen or rather seventeen years ago, (a)* I delivered eighteen lectures on Shakspeare, at the Royal Institution ; threefourths of which appeared at that time startling paradoxes, although they have since been adopted even by men, who then made use of them as proofs of my flighty and paradoxical turn of mind; all
• The letters refer to Notes at the end of the Volume by the present editor.
to prove that Shakspeare's judgment was, if possible, still more wonderful than his genius; or rather, that the contradistinction itself between judgment and genius rested on an utterly false theory. This, and its proofs and grounds have been-) should not have said adopted, but produced as their own legitimate children by some, and by others the merit of them attributed to a foreign writer, whose lectures were not given orally till two years after mine, rather than to their countryman; though I dare appeal to the most adequate judges, as Sir George Beaumont, the Bishop of Durham, Mr. Sotheby, and afterwards to Mr. Rogers and Lord Byron, whether there is one single principle in Schlegel's work (which is not an admitted drawback from its merits), that was not established and applied in detail by me.
Plutarch tells us, that egotism is a venial fault in the unfortunate, and justifiable in the calumniated, &c.
Extract from a Letter to J. Briton, Esq.
28th Feb., 1819, Highgate. EAR SIR,-First permit me to remove a
very natural, indeed almost inevitable, mistake, relative to my lectures : namely, that I have them, or that the lectures of one place or season