How Can Each Word be Irreplaceable? Is Coleridge's Claim Absurd?

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This article considers Coleridge’s comment that in the best poetry one cannot change a word. It compares Kant’s seemingly opposed insistence that ideas of perfection have little role in our judgments of beauty. The article proposes that these positions are actually compatible, due to the “thingly quality” (Heidegger) that pertains to the best work, its mysterious sense of finish. We have no ultimate idea what such a thing is or might do, such that it could be perfect at it. Or changed. But is the presence of this irreplaceable, thingly quality any less a matter of taste than beauty itself?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-415
Number of pages15
JournalPhilosophy and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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