Coleridge’s Colonial Interest in Abyssinian Christianity
AbstractColeridge’s radical and colonial interests can be explored in his 1790 poems as sites of power and resistance. As a product of the complex discursive web of the 18th century, the Orientalist Coleridge could not act out of such historical forces as colonialism that had gone into shaping him and his poetry. Although he attacked European corruption and desired a revolutionary figure such as Mahomet to make a return to Abyssinia as home to true Christianity, Coleridge perpetuated the prejudice of Christianity’s superiority over Islam. Disillusioned by the French Revolution, Coleridge created Mahomet to replace Napoleon to pave the way to Abyssinia where true Christianity began. This study is an attempt to show that Coleridge’s radical interpretation of Mahomet, and desire for the Abyssinian maid and a Pantisocratic setting are all ideologically-shaped discursive practices within the context of 18th century colonialism. With such political elements as colonization in mind, a better historically-engaged understanding of Coleridge can be achieved.
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