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Trials and Acts: Coleridge's Legal Reflections, 1794-1797

NORMAN, DANIEL,LOVELL (2017) Trials and Acts: Coleridge's Legal Reflections, 1794-1797. Masters thesis, Durham University.



In discussing trials, the thesis explores Coleridge’s experience of specific court cases to show how he echoes and reflects upon their processes. Such reflection is particularly evident in his drama, and it is for this reason that the thesis begins and ends with dramatic works. In discussing acts, the thesis analyses Coleridge’s criticisms of individual legislative measures, doing so in order to draw out broader points about his conception of law and the function it ought to serve. The thesis maintains a double perspective: for Coleridge, law derives from humanity’s innate capacity to perceive moral truth, yet it is enmeshed in complex linguistic problems, deriving from the gap between general principles and individual cases. For Coleridge, law is involved in a difficult struggle to articulate the directives of conscience: its purpose is to formulate an often implicit understanding of what constitutes wrongdoing into principles which may expressed in language, and applied in a courtroom. To investigate these issues, the thesis will focus upon four crucial works of the period in question, two plays and two works in prose: 'The Fall of Robespierre,' 'Conciones ad Populum,' 'The Plot Discovered,' and 'Osorio.' The intention is to engage in detail with these works in the endeavour to illuminate a comparatively neglected and significant aspect of Coleridge’s early thought and writing, an aspect of importance for his subsequent development.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:Coleridge, Law, Treason Trials, Robespierre, Common Law
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:07 Apr 2017 14:22

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