"Lyric Mindedness and the 'Automaton Poet'"  [1] 

This essay examines how the figure of an “automaton poet” served as a testing ground for Romantic-era arguments about the mind’s internal structure, first and foremost in Coleridge’s assertion that poetry is an activity unassailable by the materialist science of nerves, fibers, and organs. The poet must not be made into an automaton, Coleridge argues, precisely because poetry “brings the whole soul of man into activity,” and thus resembles the undifferentiated or domain-general nature of consciousness itself. I then turn to a different Romantic-era argument—one that implicates Walter Scott, the phrenologist George Combe, and the posthumous specter of Robert Burns—which embraces automatic poiesis for modeling cognition in terms of domain-specific abilities like “tunefulness” or timekeeping.