Sensationalism and Supersensibility: Eighteenth-Century Literary Terror Divided
Schiller and Lewis present a polarity dividing Coleridge’s judgement of literary terror: Schiller, the unparalled artist of sublime terror, and Lewis, the most objectionable of gothic writers. Although Coleridge’s responses are in many ways linked to his own unique concerns, they also reflect the divided status of terror in the wider culture of the time. And if we want to understand this divided status, it is useful to turn to a characteristically Coleridgean question: is sensation transcended? This question has two distinct but related components: firstly, is the literary work addressed to higher faculties rather than the senses, and secondly, does the literary work itself depict a world with a supersensible realm?
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