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This item is taken from PN Review 235, Volume 43 Number 5, May - June 2017.

Letters
NICOLA HEALEY writes: In Ruth Hawthorn’s review of Letter Writing Among Poets, ed. Jonathan Ellis (EUP), in PN Review 233 (January–February 2017), Hawthorn praises Anne Fadiman’s ‘reclamation of Hartley Coleridge’ through her contribution to this book. I wanted to point out – without wishing to be invidious – that this is slightly misleading. There have already been significant scholarly advances in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in recovering the life and works of Hartley Coleridge, namely by the late Earl Leslie Griggs, Andrew Keanie, and me. More recently, critics including Robin Schofield and Joanna E. Taylor have published revisionary articles on Hartley. In her chapter, Fadiman states that ‘Hartley has been the subject of only one [book] since 1931’ (p. 97) (i.e. Keanie’s 2008 study, though she does not credit him here). Not only does this rather dismiss the work of present-day Hartley Coleridge scholars, it isn’t true: my monograph, Dorothy Wordsworth and Hartley Coleridge: The Poetics of Relationship, a development of my doctoral thesis, was published in 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Fadiman makes some engaging and astute points, though the title of her chapter, ‘The Oakling and the Oak: The Tragedy of the Coleridges’, does unfortunately collude in the diminution of Hartley. She also repeats some well-worn and/or contentious tropes of Hartley that recent critics have worked hard to demystify and to move away from, in order to refocus attention on to his writings and the complex reasons for his marginalisation, and thus clear a space to recapture his lost reputation ...


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