'Constituting Knowledge: German Literature and Philosophy between Coleridge and Crabb Robinson'

Hunnekuhl, Philipp. 2017. 'Constituting Knowledge: German Literature and Philosophy between Coleridge and Crabb Robinson'. European Romantic Review, 28(1), pp. 51-63. ISSN 1050-9585 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Henry Crabb Robinson were their generation’s prime connoisseurs of German intellectual life. Both had lived and studied in Germany—Coleridge between 1798 and 1799, Robinson from 1800 to 1805. Similarly, albeit independent of each other, they took the step from English empiricism to Kant’s critical philosophy and beyond, towards idealist speculation. As Coleridge gained increasing notoriety for obscurity of thought and allegations of plagiarism, Robinson explained and defended his works publicly. How he did so, and the role that German philosophy and literature (in particular the works of C. L. Heyne and Jean Paul) played in this, is the topic of this essay. Robinson was uniquely qualified to interpret and disseminate Coleridge’s esoterica. From him, we learn how Coleridge placed the individual’s conscience at the heart of an idealist philosophy and subsequently elaborated the Will as the key concept of practical morality that also granted ontological validity to the affections. Ideas are constitutive, as opposed to regulative, in this process: they are the lively offshoots of a formative mind generating knowledge, not merely categorizers of worldly appearances. Literature emerges, between Coleridge and Robinson, as a compelling reflection on morals through the ideas’ involvement of the affections.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


31 January 2017Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

07 Sep 2015 13:11

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2018 11:41

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)