Coleridge In The Romantic Era Essay

1265 words - 5 pages

Coleridge in the Romantic Era One of the most influential Romantic writers of all time is Samuel Taylor Coleridge. For most of his career, Coleridge has stood to be one of the best writers in the Romantic era. Joined by Wordsworth, in the latter part of his poetic career, Coleridge explored new directions in poetic language and style. He moved away from the formal and highly stylized literature of the eighteenth century and helped pave the way for a new and more sophisticated writing style. Lyrical Ballads, a joint effort with Wordsworth, was considered by many critics to be the first expression of what has come to be the Romantic Movement in English poetry. Coleridge stands tall as an excellent example of a romantic writer, as he follows the major themes in this literature period, which is relevant in his writing. Two such works that portray what the Romanticism era was all about, are The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. As The Rime of the Ancient Mariner deals with Gothic imagery and nature and its meaning, so too, does Kubla Khan. These poems both overlap several key elements, and tie into the Romantic era. The style of writing that Coleridge uses, perfectly demonstrates what the Romantic literature period was all about.Gothic imagery plays an important role in romantic writing. Used not for just Gothic writing, this style is evident in many romantic works. In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge fills the poem with this kind of imagery. Coleridge develops Gothic imagery as he describes a skeleton ship. The leader of the approaching ship has skin "as white as leprosy,/ The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she" (Grimes, 128). Here, Coleridge uses a hideous woman whose skin bears the decay of leprosy to introduce a Gothic image. In lines 330-334 the dead men on the ship return to life. "The dead men gave a groan"¦ It had been strange, even in a dream,/ To have seen those dead men rise" (Grimes, 130). These lines illustrate more examples of Gothic influences to the story, especially when the dead men groan. This is typical in Gothic detail. In lines 430-435, Coleridge uses more Gothic imagery. When the Mariner wakes up, he finds the dead men staring at him. The dead men are described as fit "for a charnel-dungeon" (Grimes, 131) which is a place were dead bodies are kept. Coleridge uses many examples of Gothic imagery in this poem, which help make it part of the Romantic era.Similarly, Kubla Khan has elements of Gothic imagery in it too. The setting in this poem is in the balanced garden of Khan. One would think that the supernatural could not exist. In line 16, the "woman wailing for her demon-lover!" (Grimes, 172) shows a relationship between a human and the supernatural world. Coleridge is known for taking a beautiful setting and combining it with Gothic images to appear almost scary. At the end of the poem, the poet seems to be possessed as he has "holy dread" (Grimes, 172). If he is indeed possessed, than he would appear to...

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