This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”: Between Dream And Reality

1848 words - 7 pages

    Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” is a short poem that depicts “the Author[’s]” dream as a result of reading a book called Purchas’s Pilgrimage and falling into an anodyne (opium) induced sleep. Coleridge was in fact high on opium when he composed this story from unconscious composition via a dream. He then later put his vision to words. Coleridge did not intend himself to be directly portrayed by the readers as “the Author” character depicted in the poem. The public’s reaction to the poem then and today, why Coleridge has set up “the Author,” as well as why Coleridge chose the two part introduction/dream format play a large role in how the poem should be analyzed in order to investigate its true purpose and meaning.
  History proves that the more time progresses the more open minded society becomes to an idea. A prime example of how society’s views change with time is what was once thought as magic is now proven science. Therefore, the thought of the unconscious composition of “Kubla Khan” is more likely to be accepted by today’s readers than it was by the Romantic Era’s rational-thinking critics. Stefan Ball, author of “Coleridge’s Ancestral Voices,” stated in his critical essay that Coleridge conducted his writing towards the end of the Age of Reason. “Kubla Khan” was ill-accepted at the time of publication because society believed that “[the] conscious mind was the key to progress and enlightenment; unbridled self-expression had yet to become fashionable; tradition and continuity were valued more than novelty; and artifice in art was still a sign of quality.” Ball also points out in his essay that, “[with] few exceptions the reading public adhered to critical standards based on experience and reason, and there was little room in either for unadorned dreaming” (Ball).
  When “Kubla Khan” was published in 1816, critics, magazine reviews, and fellow authors all negatively criticized the poem because it was different from the usual realistic art and outside of their comfort zone. The concept of publishing unconscious imagination went against everything that they believed art should represent. Stephan Ball shares that, “art was considered admissible only if it was tempered and controlled by conscious thought and technique.” Furthermore, he quotes: 'There seems to be no great harm in dreaming while one sleep's,’ the Augustan Review concluded, 'but an author really should not thus dream while he is awake, and writing too' (Ball). Tapping into the dream world and not giving art intellectual conscious thought was frowned on. William Hazlitt, a literary critic of the Romantic period, idolized Coleridge at one point and was even close friends with him for a time. After their falling out for many reasons on both sides, Hazlitt began to openly criticize Coleridge’s personal choices as well as his works. Hazlitt perceived “Kubla Khan” as a poem fragment with an introduction by Coleridge as most of his peers did. Hazlitt reviewed and negatively...

Find Another Essay On Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”: Between Dream and Reality

Sensuality, Sexuality, and Fertility in Kubla Khan

1388 words - 6 pages Sensuality, Sexuality, and Fertility in “Kubla Khan” In “Kubla Khan,” Coleridge imagines a land where sensuality, sexuality, and fertility abound and share inextricable links. Any threats to the fecundity of the land exist outside of its magnificent walls. Coleridge uses this image of an impenetrable fortress of sexual creativity in considering his own mind, desiring the same productivity in his poetic imagination. By creating this

The Composition and Publication History of Samuel T. Coleridge's Kubla Khan

2560 words - 10 pages , he alluded to 250 missing lines of Kubla Khan that were never published, and perhaps, never written. Holmes equates this mysterious statement to the effects of opium on Coleridge’s sense of reality or unreality. There are only five known different versions of Kubla Khan: the Crewe Manuscript, the first printed version of the poem in 1816, the slightly different 1816 version that is at Harvard, the 1828 published version, and the 1834 published

Contrast and Comparison of Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey and Colderidges' Kubla Khan

1614 words - 6 pages experiences with nature, and how his understanding of life and nature itself has grown from being a "wanderer through the woods", the same description used for the river. Colderidge sets the description of his poem on the banks of a river as well, but the river of this poem represents the imagination or creative flow of the poet. In the introduction of the poem, Colderidge describes how while in an opium induced dream, he has a vision of Kubla Khan

Comparison of "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth

525 words - 2 pages "Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" by William Wordsworth are poems from the romanticism period. Both poems share common characteristics and have some contrasting traits. The presence of romanticism, the fact that both are written after the incident or dream took place, and the difference in reality and imagination are very important in analyzing these poems.One characteristic that "Kubla

Write a sustained close analysis of 'Kubla Khan' paying attention to both the form and content of the poem

2595 words - 10 pages Samuel Taylor Coleridge's visionary Kubla Khan (1797-8) arose out of a narcotic induced dream. According to the poet's preface, he had consumed an effective amount of laudanum, and while reading from Purchas Pilgrimage travel book of 1613, describing the Khan and his empire, he fell asleep - 'at least of the external senses' and dreamed that he had composed up to three hundred lines of poetry without conscious effort. However whilst documenting

Confusion between Simulation and Reality

962 words - 4 pages mind between simulation and reality. There are 3 technologies that can be seen in this, movies, computers and games.Most people watch movies these days for entertainment. There are all kinds of genres, Action, Dramas, Documentaries etc. But movies are really destroying the line of simulation and reality. There are a lot of cases where people watch movies and forget about reality. The famous incident Columbine high school shooting happened on 1999

Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge asks the ultimate question - how great is the power of imagination, and answers it, with simple but poignant words, Beware! Beware!

1323 words - 5 pages uses the techniques of paradoxical imagery, juxtaposition of details and irony to induce a sort of trance on the readers, so they too, as he did before, imagine the amazing imagery that is contained in Kubla Khan. On the subject of imagination, Coleridge warns his readers, if one is not careful, one can be permanently stuck in a nightmare, and not a dream.

The Fine Line between Fantasy and Reality

1211 words - 5 pages Metafiction is a term given to fictional writing which self-consciously and systematically draws attention to its status as an artifact in order to pose questions about the relationship between fiction and reality (Waugh 2). Metafiction is a term used loosely across many genres of fictions. Using metafiction, to describe a works allows usage along a full spectrum of ideas. From this concept, many short stories, and other works of fiction

Finding a Balance Between Reality and Myth

961 words - 4 pages knew the one weakness men have – ultimate seduction. She was in control the whole time, and in the end the wolf gives in and accepts his new reality. In retrospect, the only way to find balance between the realms of reality and myth is to not just to cope with the reality you have been given, that is the easy way out of a complex set of opportunities. Like in The Company of Wolves, the girl did not simply accept that social norm of males being

Nauru: The Gap Between Perception and Reality

1117 words - 4 pages the public. Countries often present themselves as a glossy postcard picture on the outside. This picture does not always match the reality of what is on the inside. Looking at what the Nauruan Government and Tourist Organization have to say can serve as a baseline for comparison to the realities that Nauru is facing and the gap between the two. Nauru is a small island located only 26 miles south of the equator with a land mass of just over

A Midsummer Nights Dream Shakespeare’s treatment of illusion and reality

1657 words - 7 pages 3. The workmen’s play, its planning, rehearsal and performance 4. The quarrel between Oberon and Titania A Midsummer Nights Dream itself is an illusion, and to enjoy it you must temporarily suspend reality. Love is an important theme in the play, whether it is true love or induced by magic; it inhibits people’s ability to distinguish what is real or simply an illusion. The play begins in Athens, with the preparations for the

Similar Essays

The Cycle Of Creativity: A Psychoanalytic Perspective On Samuel T. Coleridge’s Kubla Khan

2357 words - 9 pages   In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan”, the narrator offers a host of fantastic imagery relating to a fictional “pleasure dome” constructed by the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan. Coleridge professed ignorance of the poem’s meaning, saying only that it was a fragmented memory of a dream, but an analysis of the symbolic imagery of the poem through the lens of psychoanalytic interpretation will show that the poem is a study of the nature

How Does Coleridge In 'the Rime Of The Ancient Mariner' And 'kubla Khan' Show The Interrelatedness Between Mankind, Nature And The Poetic Experience?

735 words - 3 pages and therefore spreadsfrom being a state of weather, to a form of life, to a state of mind, and further to theunexplainable.The interrelatedness between nature, mankind and the poetic experience is crucial forthe successful functioning of both 'Kubla Khan' and 'The Rime of the AncientMariner.' Coleridge achieves these connections by interweaving common themes andexpressions, or using one to explain the other in order to attain harmony. As a basisfor both poems, this interrelatedness causes the branching and probing into furtherquestioning of morals and beliefs, achieving reflection and spurring on thought.

Samuel Coleridge's Kubla Khan And The Unconscious

2471 words - 10 pages Samuel Coleridge's Kubla Khan and the Unconscious Samuel Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan is a metaphorical journey through a complex labyrinth of symbols and images that represent the unconscious and seemingly troubled mind. It is a voyage that continually spirals downward toward uncharted depths, while illustrating the unpredictable battle between the conscious and the unconscious that exists inside every individual. Moreover, the poem appears

Kubla Khan And Ode On Grecian Urn

830 words - 3 pages Although both “Kubla Khan,” by Samuel Coleridge and “Ode on Grecian Urn,” by John Keats are poems originating from the poets’ inspiration from historical figure, the two poems convey different messages through their respective metaphors. While Coleridge emphasizes on the process of creating a Romantic poem, Keats expresses his opinion about art by carefully examining the details of the Grecian urn. In “Kubla Khan,” Coleridge expresses his