Friday, July 19, 2019

Influence of George Berkeley :: This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison Philosopher Essays

The Influence of George Berkeley George Berkeley (1685-1753) was an Irish clergyman and philosopher who studied and taught at Trinity College in Ireland, where he completed some of his best known works on the immateriality of matter (believing that all matter was composed of ideas of perception and therefore did not exist if it was not being perceived). Coleridge himself acknowledge the influence of Berkeley on his work, in particular his poem â€Å"This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison† when he wrote a letter to Robert Southey in July 1797, in which the poem was included, with the following note, â€Å"You remember, I am a Berkleian.† We can see the influence of Berkeleyin â€Å"This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison† in three main ways: perceptions of light, the idea of a divine spirit in everything yet still separate and itself, and the idea that there are as many â€Å"minima visibilia† in an enclosed space as out in the wide-open spaces. According to Stephen Prickett, one of the main ideas that Berkeley had hoped to prove was that all reality is mental, but the idea that truly came through in his works is that each person does not perceive object, but instead qualities (like color, form, sent, and sound), and each person perceives these qualities differently. Prickett goes further to claim that the effect of this idea on Coleridge â€Å"was to make him intensely conscious of light† (12). We can see this obsession with light and they way it plays on different object throughout â€Å"This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison†: Pale beneath the blaze Hung the transparent foliage; and I watch’d Some broad and sunny leaf, and lov’d to see The shadow of the leaf and stem above Dappling its sunshine! And that walnut-tree Was richly ting’d, and a deep radiance lay Full on the ancient ivy, which usurps Those fronting elms, and now, with blackest mass Makes their dark branches gleam a lighter hue Through the late twilight†¦ Coleridge’s preoccupation with light and the way in which it changes the perception of the object is what links this passage with the ideas of Berkeley. Even though Coleridge and many other Romantics (such as Wordsworth) used the came to different conclusions about perception than Berkeley, his theories about light â€Å"pointed to the why in which such phenomena of light as the rainbow could be used as a scientific model for the imagination as a perceptual relationship between man and nature† (Prickett 13).

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