Friday, 26 October 2012


Reading more widely in Coleridge it occurs to me: he has a real bee in his bonnet about envy.  There may be something here, about the way envy (which, according to the Latin etymology, invidia, in-video, starts with sinful looking) structures his own poetic imagination.  In chapter three of the Biographia, though, he's more concerned to diagnose it in those who write negative reviews:
Still less can I place these attacks to the charge of envy. The few pages which I have published, are of too distant a date, and the extent of their sale a proof too conclusive against their having been popular at any time, to render probable, I had almost said possible, the excitement of envy on their account; and the man who should envy me on any other, verily he must be envy-mad!
He pretends to be discounting envy as a motive, but actually he's doing the reverse. And he's inventing a new psychopathology, one that Google tells me nobody has thought of before: invidimania!

(Well, obviously, Google will now return searches for that term back here, so it will no longer have the beautiful blank return it once did. But you take my point).

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