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

The Composition And Publication History Of Samuel T. Coleridge's Kubla Khan

2560 words - 10 pages

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

Although the exact date remains unknown, it is believed that Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote his poem Kubla Khan sometime in the fall of 1797 and began revisions of it in the early spring of 1798. Interestingly, although no original manuscript has been found, the Crewe Manuscript of Kubla Khan was discovered in 1934. Currently, the Crewe Manuscript is the earliest know version of Kubla Khan and is believed to have been written around 1810. After Lord Byron’s zealous response to Kubla Khan, Coleridge published the poem for the first time in May of 1816 under Byron’s publisher John Murray. While the poem was initially bound with two of his other poems: Christabel and Pains of Sleep, Kubla Khan was then published in 1828 within Coleridge’s collection Poetical Works. The final publication of Kubla Khan during Coleridge’s lifetime came in 1834, when a cumulative version of Poetical Works was introduced, which included some of Coleridge’s early, unpublished works.

When Kubla Khan was first published in 1816, contemporary reviewers noted the poem’s fragmentary nature and spoke of its nonsensical style, imagery, and content. The poem was, in a sense, viewed as not a “wholly meaningful poem, but only meaningless music.” More recent studies by scholar E. S. Shaffer asserted that Coleridge intended for Kubla Khan to be a part of his project to create “a new kind of epic poem” that was to be called The Fall of Jerusalem. Shaffer believes that Coleridge was unable to complete this epic project, and consequently, left Kubla Khan as “an epic fragment” that has bred a myth of fragmentation that has followed the poem since its initial publication.

Much as the poem itself is stylistically fragmented in both its imagery, syntax, and overall structure, its composition and publication history shares this fragmented appearance. Coleridge firmly believed that Kubla Khan was an incomplete poem, and therefore, spent his entire life continually revising and republishing it.

During the time that Coleridge composed Kubla Khan, biographer Richard Holmes documents that Coleridge “must have been producing something like fifty lines of blank verse a day, and a tremendous sense of liberation cam over him.” In the late 1790s, Coleridge resided in the Quantock Hills of Somerset near his close friend and fellow poet William Wordsworth. Holmes argues that,

it was some time during this first fortnight in October 1797 that he probably went for a long solitary walk along the coast to Lynton, exhausted from his labours, and, taken ill on his return journey, stopped off at Ash Farm above Culborne Church, where he wrote Kubla Khan.

After writing his first draft of Kubla Khan, Coleridge was unable to finish the poem to his liking, and consequently, dismissed it as an incomplete fragment. On October 14th, 1797, Coleridge wrote a letter to his friend John Thelwall,...

Find Another Essay On The Composition and Publication History of Samuel T. Coleridge's Kubla Khan

The Poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coloridge

958 words - 4 pages Coleridge successfully illustrates the qualities of imagination in his poem, Kubla Khan, through the sound of words, the creative content and his ability to create and recreate. Coleridge turns the words of the poem into a system of symbols that are suspended in the reader’s mind. Coleridge uses creative powers to establish the infinite I AM, a quality of the primary imagination. Coleridge mirrors his primary and secondary imagination in the

"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

570 words - 2 pages "Kubla Khan" is a romantic poem written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It has been known that Coleridge was addicted to opium and that he actually saw a vision while he was "high" on opium. And out of this opium-induced dream the poem "Kubla Khan" was created. Coleridge uses a lot of poetic devices in this poem such as sounds, imagery, and symbols. All the elements of this poem contribute to its implicit argument, that Coleridge's addiction to

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 Kingdom of Imagination, Kubla Khan Be Thy Ruler"Kubla Khan" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is one of the most celebrated and debated works, poems and other, from the Romantic period in English Literature. Coleridge wrote this piece in the period from 1797 to 1798. It is largely speculated that this verse was induced by a drug slumber during which he dreamt up what he wrote about later. Many critics and readers argue to this day about the hidden and

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

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

2027 words - 9 pages Samuel Taylor Coleridge's “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” seems like a simple story of a man lost at sea and defeating the odds, but if you hone in on the visual and aural details you see that it’s much more. The whole story revolves around the theme of religious transformation and Coleridge uses these visual and aural symbols to convey and drive home this theme. He starts the story immediately with a lot of detail creating the setting of

Analysis of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Pains of Sleep

924 words - 4 pages the disbelief that he is still in this unfortunate situation and that he can’t find a way to escape Lines 17 and 18 are interesting because the alliteration crosses over from the th sound of thoughts and throng and the tortured and trampling and he uses the t twice in the two lines but backwards. There is a sense of fear and the word fear is used on line 32 which shows that in the strong part of the poem he is still fighting but he is also

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

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

“Kubla Khan:” A Description of Earthly Paradise

2075 words - 8 pages “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is said to be “one of the best remembered works of the Romantic period,” (Gray) and though this poem may seem speak deeply about the world, its conception was fairly simple: Coleridge had been reading a book about Kubla Khan in Xanadu (by a man named Samuel Purchas) before falling into a deep sleep induced by an opium mixture to which he had long since had an addiction. When he awoke from this drug

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

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

Similar Essays

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

Samuel Coleridge's Poem Kubla Khan Essay

1104 words - 4 pages Samuel Coleridge's Poem Kubla Khan In the poem Kubla Khan by Samuel Coleridge, language is used to convey images from Coleridge’s imagination. This is done with the use of vocabulary, imagery, structure, use of contrasts, rhythm and sound devices such as alliteration and assonance. By conveying his imagination by using language, the vocabulary used by coleridge is of great importance. The five lines of the poem Kubla Khan sound like a

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

2357 words - 9 pages Eden shows that this cycle has existed since, and is possibly part of, the curse of the fall of man. Forever driven to create, and yet know that anything beautiful or perfect is a sacrifice that will be destroyed after only a brief time.   Works Cited Allen, N. B. A Note on Coleridge's "Kubla Khan”. The John Hopkins University Press. MLN, Vol. 57, No. 2, Feb. 1942, pp. 108-113.

Careful Manipulation In Coleridge's Kubla Khan

1356 words - 5 pages Careful Manipulation in Coleridge's Kubla Khan           In his preface to "Kubla Khan," Samuel Taylor Coleridge makes the claim that his poem is a virtual recording of something given to him in a drug-induced reverie, "if that indeed can be called composition in which all the images rose up before him as things . . . without any sensation or consciousness of effort." As spontaneous and as much a product of the unconscious or dreaming