Drawing on the ideology, rhetoric, and institutional theory at the turn of the late British Enlightenment, Edwards unearths the fundamental continuities in Coleridge's writing during the revolutionary period of 1794 to 1834, paying particular attention to the rhetoric of Coleridge's pamphlet and miscellaneous writings, the journalism of the Napoleonic years, his philosophical and ultimately political treatises within the contexts of his notebooks and letters, and his readings and intellectual friendships. What emerges is a clearer understanding of Coleridge's political philosophy and his contributions to the origins and ideology of British Liberalism.
Coleridge's interest in history, nature, and law as inherently interconnected projects producing an ideal or scientific reading of society reveals a developed progressive social and cultural state theory anchored in individual conscience, moral autonomy, and a civic and participatory human agency. If the Statesman could understand and finally master this scientific view of the world, he would be able not only to adjust political and social institutions to comprehend the historical contingencies of the moment but to see through the problem of the moment to the dynamic of change itself.
Memories erode as Porter's characters struggle to determine what has happened to their loved ones and whether they are responsible. Children and teenagers carry heavy burdens in these stories: in "River Dog" the narrator cannot fully remember a drunken party where he suspects his older brother assaulted a classmate; in "Azul" a childless couple, craving the affection of an exchange student, fails to set the boundaries that would keep him safe; and in "Departure" a suburban teenage boy fascinated with the Amish makes a futile attempt to date a girl he can never be close to.
Memory often replaces absence in these stories as characters reconstruct the events of their pasts in an attempt to understand what they have chosen to keep. These struggles lead to an array of secretive and escapist behavior as the characters, united by middle-class social pressures, try to maintain a sense of order in their lives. Drawing on the tradition of John Cheever, these stories recall and revisit the landscape of American suburbia through the lens of a new generation.