Never/Nor: Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Hartley Coleridge in Poetry’s Transfictional Worlds


  • Adam B. Neikirk



This essay examines the poetry of father and son poets Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) and Hartley Coleridge (1796–1849) with respect to the theme of transfictionality, a recent coinage in literary and especially fiction studies. While the term “transfictionality” has lately been used to refer to “the migration of fictional entities across different texts” (Ryan 365; Pearson 113), I suggest this term can also be applied more broadly to refer to texts that are at once mimetic and imaginary. Transfictional can also mean, I suggest, literary content that straddles the line between fact and fiction, i.e., between what is taken to be the 'real world' and an imaginary setting or ideal transmutation of apparently real content. The two Coleridges, Samuel Taylor and Hartley, both evidence a tendency to produce poetry that is transfictional in this sense, constructing Pantisocracy, an utopian intellectual colony in America, and Ejuxria, an imaginary kingdom based in the English Lake District, as examples of world-building activity that is not entirely based in either fact or fiction, but relies on the commingling of the two. By examining poetic writing that is transfictional as productive of both political and personal poetry, I hope to suggest in part both the transfictional nature of poetry's idealising tendencies, as well as its potential to be a form of world-building writing that should be seen as generically similar to (but still distinct from) narrative forms like prose fiction (especially Sci-Fi/Fantasy) and video games.




How to Cite

Neikirk, Adam B. 2023. “Never/Nor:/Samuel/Taylor/Coleridge/and/Hartley/Coleridge/in/Poetry’s/Transfictional/Worlds”. FORUM: University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Journal of Culture & The Arts 34 (1).



Transfiction & Translation