Journal Article

Repetition, Difference and Liturgical Participation in Coleridge's ‘The Ancient Mariner’<sup>1</sup>

Peter Larkin

in Literature and Theology

Volume 21, issue 2, pages 146-159
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/frm007
Repetition, Difference and Liturgical Participation in Coleridge's ‘The Ancient Mariner’1

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Theological interpretations of ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ have sometimes been judged to do little more than to compound the problem of interpretation. This essay reflects on a contrasting response from the Welsh poet David Jones which challenges the ‘Rime’ for a theological incoherence in itself constituting a failure of imagination, and then considers the relation of language to liturgy in recent postmodern theology. What emerges from Coleridge's poem is a divergence between the identical repetition of the tale itself and a ‘repetition with difference’ implied in the Mariner's vision of a procession to the kirk. Coleridge's ‘Gothic’ imagination can do little more than stage this difference of repetition on the margins of his poem, but there are implications for his later writing career, as he moves away from the predominance of imagination towards the counter-horizons of speculative theological prose.

Journal Article.  6362 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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