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'Coleridge's Humour in The Watchman'

Norman, Daniel

'Coleridge's Humour in The Watchman' Thumbnail


Daniel Norman


This essay seeks to challenge Coleridge's (and some subsequent critics') retrospective accounts of the glib naivety of The Watchman's humour, by arguing that his jokes reveal a careful and considered approach to the dissemination of his ideas. It identifies several types of humour employed within the work, examining both the articles Coleridge himself contributed, and the manner in which he arranged the contributions of others. Such an examination is only possible in full view of the contemporary periodical context, to which Coleridge is quite clearly responding. By adapting, and at times undermining, the forms of humour popular amongst the readerships of other periodicals, Coleridge's own jokes reveal his pervasive attention to his relationship with his audience. The Watchman consistently wrong-foots its reader with its subtle and provocative wit, and in so doing it displays a conception of the function and purpose of humour that Coleridge would gradually refine in the years to come.


Norman, D. (2019). 'Coleridge's Humour in The Watchman'. Romanticism, 25(2), 117-128.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 31, 2019
Deposit Date Apr 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 14, 2019
Journal Romanticism
Print ISSN 1354-991X
Electronic ISSN 1750-0192
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 2
Pages 117-128


Published Journal Article (93 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© Daniel Norman. The online version of this article is published as Open Access<br /> under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence ( which permits commercial use, distribution<br /> and reproduction provided the original work is cited.

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